Eight thousand pages of documents related to the Pentagon’s illegal propaganda campaign, known as the Pentagon military analyst program, are now online for the world to see, although in a format that makes it impossible to easily search them and therefore difficult to read and dissect. This trove includes the documents pried out of the Pentagon by David Barstow and used as the basis for his stunning investigation that appeared in the New York Times on April 20, 2008.
The Pentagon program, which clearly violated US law against covert government propaganda, embedded more than 75 retired military officers—most of them with financial ties to war contractors—into the TV networks as “message surrogates” for the Bush Administration. To date, every major commercial TV network has failed to report this story, covering up their complicity and keeping the existence of this scandal from their audiences.
News of the Pentagon’s online posting of the documents came from Joe Trento of the National Security News Service, who notes that NSNS provided the New York Times “limited information about a military office early in the reporting process.”
Here is the official Pentagon website with the 8,000 pages of documents, the most interesting and revealing of them previously secret and only available to the Pentagon and the New York Times:
More than two weeks after the New York Times reported on the Penatgon’s military analyst program to sell controversial policies such as the invasion of Iraq, the broadcast television news outlets implicated in the program are hoping to tough out the scandal by refusing to report it. Recently Media Matters of America (MMA) reported that, according to a search of the Nexis database, “the three major broadcast networks—ABC, CBS, and NBC—have still not mentioned the report at all.”
The Pew Excellence in Journalism project has a chart showing that “there was virtually no mainstream media follow up to The Times’ expose” with the only national TV coverage being the introduction segment and live debate featuring CMD’s John Stauber on the PBS NewsHour.
Congresswoman Rosa L. DeLauro and three dozen colleagues have sent a letter to the Department of Defense Inspector General calling for an investigation of this “propaganda campaign aimed at deliberately misleading the American public.”
John Stauber of PR Watch for AlterNet, May 7
See our last posts on Iraq and the media culture wars.