Stop the propaganda, Jim

For God’s sake, when will this end? Jim Michaels of *USA Today* reports that the U.S. has captured at least six *Al Qaeda* media centers in Iraq and arrested 20 suspected propagandists for the organization. Michaels quotes military sources as saying they’ve cut down on the amount of AQI propaganda coming out of Iraq, but Rita Katz of the [SITE Institute](, which monitors terrorist web sites, said the five- to six-week dip seen in the production has ended. Distribution of AQI material is back on track.
Let’s take a moment to chide Michaels. Even if the military constantly refers to “al Qaeda,” it’s not the same organization that did the 9/11 attacks, and to repeat that line of, well, propaganda creates a misleading impression for USA Today‘s readers. Repeat after me: It’s Al Qaeda *in Iraq*, not big, bad al Qaeda in Pakistan. They’re two different, but affiliated, organizations. It may be politically expedient for the White House and the Pentagon to create the impression that there’s no difference between al Qaeda and al Qaeda in Iraq, but Michaels has been covering the war long enough to know better. (Let’s also note the irony of this cropping up in a story about jihadist propaganda.) The Times and the Post have made the distinction after some public critiques from their own ombudsmen and this blog, among others. It’s high time USA Today stopped parroting the line.