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A Guide to 'NYT' Scoop on Pentagon's Media Propaganda

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

A Guide to 'NYT' Scoop on Pentagon's Media Propaganda

Article excerpt

The front-page David Barstow epic in today's New York Times on how the Pentagon, starting in 2002, assembled a crew of retired military officers to disseminate propaganda via all-too-willing network and cable news outlets is drawing wide attention (see other story). Barstow aptly refers to this as "a kind of media trojan horse."

Even if it confirms what many have already sensed the details are truly damning and shocking -- more Orwell than oh, well. And it continues up to the present day, with the revelation that Gen. Petraeus met with members of this propaganda group just two weeks ago (he had met with them previously, as well). "Anything we can do to help," one analyst described this most recent meeting.

The Pentagon referred to the analysts as "message-force multipliers."

The entire lengthy article, and special interactive and original source features, are posted at www.nytimes.com. But a few angles:

-- The article has at least three tracks: One, the Pentagon deploying the analysts (some 75 in number) and the TV outlets happy to run with them; two, the analysts' further conflict-of-interest in being tied to defense contractors with billions of dollars invested in the war effort; three, the complete lack of interest by the TV outlets in either of the first two connections, or ignoring what they did know. In fact, the networks raised no objections to the Pentagon paying for trips by the analysts.

-- The effort began in "selling the war" -- going where even Judy Miller feared to tread -- and there are some startling admissions by some team members that they knew they were being sold a fairy tale on WMD, but went along with it anyway. …

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