Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Republican Media- No. 15

How about those retired military officers you see on network and cable news programs passed off as experts? It turns out some have been part of a Pentagon intelligence operation, with assistance from the White House, the State Department, or the Justice Department.

The information was gathered when "The(New York) Times successfully sued the Defense Department to gain access to 8,000 pages of e-mail messages, transcripts and records describing years of private briefings, trips to Iraq and Guantánamo and an extensive Pentagon talking points operation." An article written by David Barstow in today's (4/20/08) paper lays out the case:

Analysts have been wooed in hundreds of private briefings with senior military leaders, including officials with significant influence over contracting and budget matters, records show. They have been taken on tours of Iraq and given access to classified intelligence. They have been briefed by officials from the White House, State Department and Justice Department, including Mr. Cheney, Alberto R. Gonzales and Stephen J. Hadley.

The television networks rarely if ever reveal to their audience the financial or political connections of the "experts," who sometimes do not reveal their true associations or motives to the networks themselves. Information provided often has been contradicted by subsequent inquiries and books later published.

Moreover, Barstow notes

Several dozen (of these) military analysts represent more than 150 military contractors either as lobbyists, senior executives, board members or consultants. The companies include defense heavyweights, but also scores of smaller companies, all part of a vast assemblage of contractors scrambling for hundreds of billions in military business generated by the administration’s war on terror.

The program was overseen by Assistant Secretary of Defense For Public Affairs Torie Clark, a former public relations executive, who believed the analysts she recruited, ironically, would be seen as "authoritative and utterly independent," according to Barstow. They would be

framing how viewers ought to interpret events. What is more, while the analysts were in the news media, they were not of the news media. They were military men, many of them ideologically in sync with the administration’s neoconservative brain trust, many of them important players in a military industry anticipating large budget increases to pay for an Iraq war.

Darn that liberal news media!

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