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Daily Democracy

Ryan Blethen discusses the press, media and democracy. Daily Democracy is part of the Democracy Papers, a series of articles, essays and editorial opinion examining threats to our freedoms of speech and the press.

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April 25, 2008 3:34 PM

Coverage of the Pentagon's puppets

Posted by Ryan Blethen

It should not be that surprising that the networks and cable news stations have barely followed up on a report about the Pentagon's involvement with retired military brass acting as independent on air analysts.

New York Times reporter David Barstow's piece, which ran Sunday, showed how the Pentagon tried to influence the public by providing inside and classified information to retired military personnel who were being used by the networks and cable news as analysts. The Pentagon also gave the analysts talking points, many of which were at odds with what was happening in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay.

The scant broadcast coverage that has resulted from Barstow's story has been on PBS and The Daily Show. The News Hour on PBS had a good 11:28 piece. It can be found here. The Daily Show made light of the jargon used by the Pentagon. My favorite phrase is "message force multipliers." That is what the Pentagon called their retired military mouthpieces.

Hopefully this issue gains some momentum. It is frightening when the government so willingly uses propaganda on its own citizens. Worse yet when the broadcast press ignores its own duplicity. Look for an editorial from The Seattle Times about it next week.

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