Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Too little, too late

All too often, and with some justice, this government is accused of trying to bury bad news. The abiding sin of the MoD, however, seems to be its determination to bury good news.

Three days into "Operation Silicon" and two posts already up on this blog (here and here), we finally get an account of the action on the MoD website.

Badly written, it offers little if anything that we did not already know, and fails to mention much that is already in the public domain. It is also poorly illustrated, offering only two photographs (one shown). And, although the picture is clearly of British troops, the caption, on the British MoD site, merely tells us that these are "multi-national troops" - as if it's ashamed to say they are British.

Also objectionable is the "fluffy-wuffy" style. There is no mention of the fact that we've been through the Taliban like a dose of Epsom Salts through a camel and slotted at least 75 of the murderous bastards - or words to that effect. Instead, we get the anodyne, "The Royal Engineers are following behind the Royal Anglian's advance, and the engineers are repairing roads and laying a new bridge which will benefit the local communities as well." Bless!

Part of the trouble is that the website is managed by civil servants rather than media specialists and the process of posting requires clearance though multiple levels of bureaucracy, with the leaden hands of the back-coverers exerting their malign influences all the way up the chain.

Yet, on the other hand, the MoD so often complains of its bad press and how often the media get it wrong. But, with its own (well-funded) resource and a willing audience, it cannot even get its own message across. Perhaps, if they put as much intellectual effort into conveying their stories as they did in concealing that which they do not want us to know, we might get a better product.

Meanwhile, Al Jazeera is doing a better job.


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