Pentagon Arms Analysts Instead of Soldiers

The web is all a flutter due to information revealed in the recent New York Times article about how the US government is shaping coverage of the war by arming supposed independent analysts with Pentagon talking points. As several have noted, the article is a definite must-read, but if nothing else, remember this the next time you see a retired military general on the teevee giving his expert "objective" opinion:

Five years into the Iraq war, most details of the architecture and execution of the Pentagon’s [propaganda] campaign have never been disclosed. But The 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.

These records reveal a symbiotic relationship where the usual dividing lines between government and journalism have been obliterated.
(Score one for the judiciary! And, grudgingly, the New York Times.) Nonetheless, to add insult to injury, the irony meter goes to eleven with this little ditty:
Again and again, records show, the administration has enlisted analysts as a rapid reaction force to rebut what it viewed as critical news coverage, some of it by the networks’ own Pentagon correspondents. For example, when news articles revealed that troops in Iraq were dying because of inadequate body armor, a senior Pentagon official wrote to his colleagues: “I think our analysts — properly armed — can push back in that arena.” [emphasis mine]
Well, at least they were arming someone in this war. "Sorry troops; no armor for you. We've got to arm our analysts with talking points to explain why you aren't getting armor. Just learn to duck. Fast!"

Everyone's been talking about the dearth of anti-war perspectives in the news, and coincidentally, I was just re-reading this post from back in March about CNN's Pentagon correspondentmouthpiece supposedly countering pro-war Michael O'Hanlon's point-of-view and keeping him "honest" in their discussion of the war. The notion that the disinformation campaign discussed in the NYT article is restricted to supposed independent analysts is, in my mind, silly. But how far it seeps into a TV network's own internal analytical coverage of the war may be hard to measure. Seems to me that CNN's Barbara Starr's coverage should get a deeper look-see.

I'm certain there will be more to discuss on this later, but just to twist the knife, here are two disturbing videos brought back from the days of yore:
1. Rupert Murdoch admits to Charlie Rose that his "news" outlets intentionally try to shape opinion about Bush's war (h/t Four-Tower):

2. Amy Goodman interviews that one Centcom guy who talks about the massive theater set they constructed to pretend to be Centcom for the benefit of the viewing public:

(Score 2 for the interwebs!) I won't bring back the video from Katie Couric's "we're kind of not making it kinda dramatic enough, you know?" Iranian speedboat coverage,'s the weekend, and who needs to see that on the weekend? But the larger question remains (as always): What more can we do to make every single US citizen aware of these kinds of propaganda techniques and how they are used to influence our opinions?

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Nothing New byslag at 11:34 PM

0 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here):

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