the blog of DC Drinking Liberally

August 19, 2005

“Freedom Walk”, “Truth Tour” Have Much in Common


When I first read this SpinWatch article describing the “Truth Tour” of Iraq I was skeptical. If correct, this would tie together right-wing radio personalities, a PR firm supporting right-wing causes, and an office of the Pentagon.

This office, the Office of Media Outreach, if it existed, would be acting as a propaganda arm of the Pentagon, a notion that was rejected when Secretary Rumsfeld had attempted to create an Office of Strategic Influence.

A search of the internet yielded no such office under the .gov domain, and was not contained in any DoD org chart. Yet, I was able to get in touch with Lynnette Ebberts, who confirmed that the Office of Media Outreach exists, and she was the director. There was no .gov website or any other internet presence for OMO , she explained in email, because the office had been created just after the November elections.

Yet, America Supports You, the Pentagon group organizing the September 11 “Freedom Walk” has an elaborate presence on the web. Like the Office of Media Outreach, America Supports You was created immediately following the November elections. The two groups have more than shared timing: They share staff as well. Ms. Ebberts, for example, is both the director of the OMO and a point of contact for America Supports You.

Most importantly both organizations appear to be spearheading taxpayer-sponsored efforts to influence public opinion regarding the Iraq War. The “Truth Tour” by imbedding right-wing radio personalities with the troops in Iraq; the “Freedom Walk” by conflating the Iraq War with September 11.

America Supports You describes the mission of the “Freedom Walk” in different terms:

The America Supports You ‘FREEDOM WALK’ is an event on September 11 that allows citizens the opportunity to remember the victims of September 11, honor our American servicemen and women past and present, and commemorate our freedom.

The America Supports You ‘FREEDOM WALK’ is a walk of remembrance and support. Remembrance of the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the Pentagon, Twin Towers, and Pennsylvania and support of the many American men and women in uniform past and present who protect the freedom the walk is commemorating.

While saying “remembrance and support” stops just short of saying support for the Iraq War, it inevitably ties together September 11 with the invasion. It should be noted that the Washington Post, in order to avoid any question of impartiality, withdrew support from the Freedom Walk.

The concern here is that the Office of Media Outreach and America Supports You are just the Office of Strategic Influence under a new name. Readers may recall that on February 19, 2002, it was leaked to the press that the Office of Strategic Influence had been created. As a result of fears that US media would unwittingly become distributors of disinformation and propaganda, Douglas Feith announced just a week later that the office would be closed.

This appeared to be reversed 7 months later when Secretary Rumsfeld said this in a press conference:

“And then there was the Office of Strategic Influence. You may recall that. And ‘oh my goodness gracious isn’t that terrible, Henny Penny the sky is going to fall.’ I went down that next day and said fine, if you want to salvage this thing fine I’ll give you the corpse. There’s the name. You can have the name, but I’m gonna keep doing every single thing that needs to be done and I have. That was intended to be done by that office is being done by that office, NOT by that office in other ways.”

This raises the question of whether the Office of Media Outreach and America Supports You are essentially the foreign and domestic limbs, respectively, of the former Office of Strategic Influence.


  1. Dissension in the Ranks of the Anti-Sheehan Army

    You’ve probably heard about the “You Don’t Speak for Me, Cindy” caravan sponsored by Move America Forward, the fake grassroots “nonpartisan” pro-war group run by Republican PR firm Russo Marsh and Rogers. (MAF also …

    DCDL2:48 pm, August 28

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