Blog Trolling Iraq?

Joseph Mailander of the Martini Republic weblog wonders if the U.S. government is "blog trolling" in Iraq: "touting the 'right' messengers with a mix of above-board, official recognition and below-board, ideology-based, sustained pump-priming, to generate a following for propagandistic messengers far beyond their natural level of interest." IraqTheModel, featuring two brothers in Baghdad, has become popular to the point that the brothers are touring the U.S., meeting President Bush and other prominent pro-war figures. "Contrast all this to the young woman computer systems analyst in Baghdad, Riverbend, who is in her views closer to the Iraqi opinion polls, especially with regard to Sunni Arabs, but who is not being feted in Washington, DC," notes Juan Cole. He adds, "The phenomenon of blog trolling, and frankly of blog agents provocateurs secretly working for a particular group or goal and deliberately attempting to spread disinformation, is likely to grow in importance."