Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Bogus "independent analysts"

It's ridiculous to think that we will ever live to see any significant move towards objectivity or fair reporting on the part of the mainstream media, as long as this media is the property of private companies. After all, why would not these companies benefit from particular goals and agendas, like any other institutions? The country's Founders demonstrated a high regard for the press of their day, perhaps expecting it to play an impossible role. Maybe the spirit of John Peter Zenger still filled their colonial air, as it still informs the thinking of a handful of today's reporters.

Columnist Glenn Greenwald writes about journalist David Barstow's report on retired military Generals, who were co-opted by the Pentagon to go on airwaves, during the Bush travesty, posing as "analysts," to make a bogus case for the U.S. attack on Iraq [, 4/21/09]. Many of these so-called analysts had undisclosed ties to companies that benefited from policies they defended. Barstow's story, although never denied by any of the principals cited, was suppressed by every major network and cable news show.

Greenwald writes:

By whom were these "ties to companies" undisclosed and for whom did these deeply conflicted retired generals pose as "analysts"? ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, CNN and Fox -- the very companies that have simply suppressed the story from their viewers. They kept completely silent about Barstow's story even though it sparked Congressional inquiries, vehement objections from the then-leading Democratic presidential candidates, and allegations that the Pentagon program violated legal prohibitions on domestic propaganda programs.

The Pentagon's secret collaboration with these "independent analysts" shaped multiple news stories from each of these outlets on a variety of critical topics. Most amazingly, many of them continue to employ, as so-called "independent analysts," the very retired generals at the heart of Barstow's story, yet still refuse to inform their viewers about any part of this story.

Greenwald describes NBC's news anchor Brian Williams' attempts to "contain P.R. damage," as NBC executives sought to downplay their conflicting connections to their "independent analyst" former General Barry McCaffrey. The media bought the war story, as sold by Bush operatives, and then found the people who would help to nurture it further.

Read complete Greenwald column here.

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