Friday, April 25, 2008

The Pentagon's Media Trojan Horse

The NY Times had a major bombshell on Sunday, which the media at large is understandably too embarrassed to investigate further. The media's complicity in helping to sell the Iraq war-- on which there are already many great documentaries and books-- has already been widely discussed, but it is treated as a thing of the past.

But as their continued use of so-called 'military experts' shows, it's really not-
...Hidden behind that appearance of objectivity, though, is a Pentagon information apparatus that has used those analysts in a campaign to generate favorable news coverage of the administration’s wartime performance, an examination by The New York Times has found.

The effort, which began with the buildup to the Iraq war and continues to this day, has sought to exploit ideological and military allegiances, and also a powerful financial dynamic: Most of the analysts have ties to military contractors vested in the very war policies they are asked to assess on air.

Those business relationships are hardly ever disclosed to the viewers, and sometimes not even to the networks themselves. But collectively, the men on the plane and several dozen other 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. It is a furious competition, one in which inside information and easy access to senior officials are highly prized.

Records and interviews show how the Bush administration has used its control over access and information in an effort to transform the analysts into a kind of media Trojan horse — an instrument intended to shape terrorism coverage from inside the major TV and radio networks.... put together this video to illustrate some quick examples of how this works...

Like I said, this should be a major scandal, complete with serious congressional hearings. But it won't be. It will just become another piece of evidence of a) the Bush administration's lies on Iraq, and b) their corruption of the media, which will all fade into the background very soon. The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina was supposed to be a moment of truth for the U.S. media, in which they decided to make up for their earlier abdication of journalistic duties in uncovering the truth, but that moment of truth lasted about two weeks, and then everyone got bored again. I've met toddlers with better attention spans than most of today's TV news folk.

File this story in with the Downing Street Memos under smoking guns that will never be properly held up to scrutiny.


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