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National Briefing / Washington, D.c.

Dispute over war reporters

August 28, 2009|TIMES WIRE REPORTS

The U.S. military in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere assesses the content and tone of the work of individual reporters to prepare for trips and interviews by those reporters, according to defense and military officials.

But the officials denied that the analysis has been used to exclude journalists from embedding with U.S. military units in combat zones or to bar them from interviewing military personnel.

A controversy has arisen over work performed for the U.S. military command in Afghanistan by the Rendon Group, a contractor that classifies reporters' stories as positive, negative or neutral in relation to military objectives.

Rendon has disputed reports that its media analysis is based on ranking reporters or aimed at manipulating their coverage. Rendon's role in compiling background profiles on reporters for the military was first revealed this week by the Stars and Stripes newspaper, which said the profiles were being used to screen reporters.

The Pentagon said the only standard it uses to measure a story is accuracy.

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