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Old 04-20-2008, 10:48 AM   #1
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NY Times- Pentagon Groomed Iraq Analysts

The article is on the NY Times site

NYT: U.S. military groomed TV analysts
Paper: Extensive ideological, business ties raise issue of manipulation
Reuters
updated 12:50 a.m. ET, Sun., April. 20, 2008

NEW YORK - Many U.S. military analysts used as commentators on Iraq by television networks have been groomed by the Pentagon, leaving some feeling they were manipulated to report favorably on the Bush administration, The New York Times said in Sunday editions.

A Times report examining ties between the Bush administration and former senior officers who acted as paid TV analysts said they got private briefings, trips and access to classified intelligence meant to influence their comments.

"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," the newspaper said.

The Pentagon defended its work with the analysts, saying they were given only accurate information.

Many of the commentators also have ties to military contractors who are vested in U.S. war efforts, but those business links are seldom disclosed to viewers, and sometimes not even to the networks on which they appear, the newspaper said.

President George W. Bush has been engaged in a long struggle to halt a drain in public support for the Iraq war, in which more than 4,000 American soldiers have died, and to boost support for his post September 11 war against terrorism.

One case cited by the Times was in the summer of 2005, when accusations were rife over human rights violations at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay on Cuba, where foreign terrorism suspects are held.

The Times said administration communications officials flew a group of retired military officers to the camp on a jet normally used by Vice President Dick Cheney to give their side of the case. Many in the group have subsequently appeared as commentators on the TV networks.

The Times quoted Robert Bevelacqua, a retired Green Beret and former Fox News analyst, as saying, "It was them (the Bush administration) saying, 'We need to stick our hands up your back and move your mouth for you.'"

Kenneth Allard, a former NBC military analyst who taught information warfare at the National Defense University, told the Times the campaign amounted to a "coherent, active," sophisticated information operation.

As the situation in Iraq deteriorated, he saw a gap between what analysts were told in private briefings and what subsequently was revealed in inquiries and books.

"Night and day," he told the Times. "I felt we'd been hosed."

Some analysts said they had suppressed doubts about the situation in Iraq for fear of jeopardizing their access.

Many others, however, denied having been co-opted or allowing their business interests to affect their on-air work, while some said they had recused themselves from coverage that touched on business interests, the Times report said.

The Times cited several examples involving NBC News analysts. (Msnbc.com is a joint venture of NBC Universal and Microsoft.)

The newspaper said NBC analyst Montgomery Meigs, a retired Army general, reported favorably on the U.S. military detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, after the military flew analysts there for a carefully choreographed visit in June 2005.

The Times said that two NBC analysts, Barry R. McCaffrey and the late Wayne A. Downing, were on the advisory board of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, which the paper described as an advocacy group created with White House encouragement in 2002 to make the case for overthrowing Saddam Hussein. The Times said the men were on the boards of major military contractors.

It quoted Rick Francona (*Terry's cousin), an NBC analyst, as saying that he didn't think the network was aware that he was participating in frequent briefings the Pentagon conducts with selected military analysts.

The newspaper said NBC News declined to discuss how it hires and monitors military analysts. The Times quoted the network as saying in a short statement: “We have clear policies in place to assure that the people who appear on our air have been appropriately vetted and that nothing in their profile would lead to even a perception of a conflict of interest.”

The Times said it based much of its report on 8,000 pages of e-mail messages, transcripts and records it secured by suing the Defense Department and which it said described years of private briefings, trips and what it called "an extensive Pentagon talking points operation."

It said Pentagon documents referred to the military analysts as "message force multipliers" or "surrogates" who could be counted on to deliver administration "themes and messages" to millions of Americans "in the form of their own opinions."

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman defended the Defense Department's work with military analysts, saying they were given only factual information about the war.

"The intent and purpose of this is nothing other than an earnest attempt to inform the American people," he told the Times, adding it was "a bit incredible" to think retired military officers could be "wound up" and used as "puppets of the Defense Department."
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Old 04-20-2008, 11:36 AM   #2
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The "pentagon" is neither for, or against this war -- only fighting it. Unless of course, by "pentagon" they are referring to Bush or Rumsfield.
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Old 04-21-2008, 08:00 AM   #3
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You don't think the Pentagon is for this war?
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Old 04-21-2008, 01:39 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by MadelynIris
The "pentagon" is neither for, or against this war -- only fighting it. Unless of course, by "pentagon" they are referring to Bush or Rumsfield.


so why did Cheney make weekly visits to the Pentagon (with Scooter in tow) all throughout 2002? it wasn't to start planning a war, was it? it wasn't to tell the Pentagon to get them the intelligence that would justify this invasion since the CIA wasn't coughing it up quick enough, was it?
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Old 04-23-2008, 01:50 PM   #5
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Cheney might have been going to tell them Bush planned on invading Iraq.

AND I CAN GUARANTEE -- THERE WERE A SHITLOAD OF GENERALS THAT TOLD HIM IT WOULD BE A HUGE MISTAKE.

But, if they are ordered, they must obey.
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