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It is disconcerting to me as a veteran communications professional to read such a one-dimensional article from Stars and Stripes on the subject of the Pentagon’s use of media analysis in its public affairs work ("Shaping the message?" article, Aug. 24).

It appears that your coverage of the issue presumes that all public affairs work is "spin" and, more worrisome, assumes that the media are hapless victims. As you well know, the media come in all "stripes," with varying degrees of professionalism, fairness and balance.

With this in mind, professional communicators in every sector of society are required to study and analyze the media to best meet the demands of both the media and their clients or supervisors. This is no less true in the volatile operating environment of the U.S. military. Too often, communicators are criticized for not knowing enough about the media that cover their organizations.

Using loaded terms like "profiling" ("Profiling: Official twice denied embeds based on profiles," headline on continuation of article, Aug. 29) reflect your own bias on the issue of communicators doing everything they can in the interest of more effective communication. To do so, they must know the media landscape for better or worse. To follow your logic, if the Pentagon should not be allowed to analyze the media, then its lawyers should not be permitted to conduct discovery, and its doctors should not be permitted to run diagnostic tests prior to surgery.

Tim O’BrienPittsburgh


Stripes in 7

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