Like Peter Himler, we unfortunately are not surprised by the NYTimes’ A1 story from yesterday, exposing just how far the Pentagon has gone to book former military officials on network and cable news shows, in order to control the news and influence war coverage.
As the Times reports, the former military officials are not in the least independent:
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.
Being in PR, we know how important disclosure is, even if our industry is often faulted for not practicing it.
In this case, some are already showing remorse:
A few expressed regret for participating in what they regarded as an effort to dupe the American public with propaganda dressed as independent military analysis.
“It was them saying, ‘We need to stick our hands up your back and move your mouth for you,'” Robert S. Bevelacqua, a retired Green Beret and former Fox News analyst, said.
TVNewser has a round up of how the networks are covering the news.