Well, looks like the DoD is cooking up their own variety of astroturf -- which I am dubbing patrioturfing -- with Public Affairs officers in the military contacting highly-watched military bloggers to link to Centcom's website and suggesting stories for bloggers to post in order to counter all that annoying "freedom of the press" that's still going on, despite the Bush administration's best efforts to crack down on it.
From an email received by Patriotboy:
I am a Public Affairs Officer writing from US Central Command. I would like to inquire about the possibility of you posting a link to our web site. I see that you are covering a lot of different types of stories in a lot of countries. I would like to get some of the stories out that are happening in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Horn of Africa. This is the area of responsibility for CENTCOM. Due to the nature of your blog, and the wide variety of information you cover, your blog is ideal for news stories. I have attached a couple of postings* that have been used by other Bloggers,
please let me know.
Thanks for your time.
Here's some graphics to assist.*
Central Command Website: US Central Command
Brian M. Anderson
1LT Brian M. Anderson MS, USAR
CENTCOM Public Affairs Officer
...and yes, I know it's not a hoax.
I just hope that the soldier in question wasn't ordered to do this, because it's actually harmful to what he's trying to accomplish. The trick is to be helpful, informative, to build trusted personal connections with others, and to be as honest and factually correct as possible. Something like this, which is little more than spam, doesn't work, never has, and never will.