From Sunday’s paper:
It begins almost imperceptibly, one lonely posting on a blog. It says that U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan use candy to lure children so they can be used as human shields.
But in an age when the lines between traditional media and the blogosphere are blurred, a dark rumor can spread like a kindergarten virus, unchecked and unchallenged.
U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa is taking notice.
Since 2005, CentCom officials have jumped into the blogging fray, facing the realities of a new electronic age in hopes of combating misinformation on the Web, or just getting its own news out.
A three-person team monitors blogs – Internet journals with commentary from ordinary citizens and, often, links to news articles – that concentrate on CentCom’s area of responsibility, which includes Iraq and Afghanistan.
Team members contact blogs when inaccuracies or incomplete information is posted. They also ask bloggers if they can post a link to CentCom’s Web site, or they offer access to CentCom information and news releases.