Magazine article Editor & Publisher

'NYT' Bombshell Reveals Pentagon's 'Expert' Media Campaign

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

'NYT' Bombshell Reveals Pentagon's 'Expert' Media Campaign

Article excerpt

A major article by David Barstow in the Sunday edition of The New York Times rips the veil off a Pentagon effort to promote its views, and those of the White House, via the press by the use of so-called "military experts," usually retired officers.

"To the public, these men are members of a familiar fraternity, presented tens of thousands of times on television and radio as 'military analysts' whose long service has equipped them to give authoritative and unfettered judgments about the most pressing issues of the post-Sept. 11 world," Barstow writes.

"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."

The article admits that the Times itself published nine op-eds by the "propaganda analysts."

Although the article focuses on their TV work, the Times and every other major paper has long quoted some of these analysts in their news pages.

An excerpt from the lengthy piece, up at www.nytimes.com, follows.*

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. …

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