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Pentagon Manipulating TV Analysts

kdawson posted about 6 years ago | from the media-trojan-horse dept.

The Military 361

gollum123 notes an extensive article from the NYTimes on the evidence that the military, since the time of the buildup to the Iraq war, has been manipulating the military analysts that are ubiquitous on TV and radio news programs, in a protracted campaign to generate favorable news coverage of the administration's war efforts. "Hidden behind that appearance of objectivity of military analysts on the major networks, is a Pentagon information apparatus... The effort... 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. Several dozen of the military analysts represent more than 150 military contractors either as lobbyists, senior executives, board members, or consultants. 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. ...[M]embers of this group have echoed administration talking points, sometimes even when they suspected the information was false or inflated. Some analysts acknowledge they suppressed doubts because they feared jeopardizing their access."

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361 comments

Heh. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23164004)

Kinda cool, I guess.

Umm...and this is NEWS??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23164012)

Now, if you knew of some way to stop it......

Re:Umm...and this is NEWS??? (2, Insightful)

gmuslera (3436) | about 6 years ago | (#23164574)

There was. If a government does wrong things, in elections they get changed. Oh, wait... in past elections they got reelected in good part because exactly this lies. So thats the famous democracy you all are proud at work.

Where The Fault Lies (5, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 6 years ago | (#23164026)

As much as the Pentagon and the analysts are scummy liars, the real blame lies with the media outfits. Surely there are enough retired officers and enough military historians to use as a counterpoint. I mean, the news agencies had guys on the ground that, even with the limited access the Army gives them, knew from the beginning the problems with the Pentagon's story.

Perhaps one cure to this is to report any particular ties that any given "analyst" has to the Pentagon or the Administration; ie. "Retired General Glubby P. Chummy is employed by Kill Them Bastards Inc., a firm with several contracts with the Pentagon".

Re:Where The Fault Lies (4, Insightful)

Jimmy_B (129296) | about 6 years ago | (#23164104)

As much as the Pentagon and the analysts are scummy liars, the real blame lies with the media outfits. Surely there are enough retired officers and enough military historians to use as a counterpoint. I mean, the news agencies had guys on the ground that, even with the limited access the Army gives them, knew from the beginning the problems with the Pentagon's story.
But only the Pentagon's hand-picked people got to see anything. Retired military officers don't get to tour military bases or get briefings from top generals and the Secretary of Defense. Media outlets had to choose between sources who were biased and sources who didn't know anything.

Re:Where The Fault Lies (5, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 6 years ago | (#23164152)

I don't think one needs to have detailed information of this sort of a military initiative to be able to determine the larger picture. Certainly there were people leading up to the war and afterward who were making negative analyses. From the very beginning, there were a number of analysts saying outright that the US had brought an insufficient number of forces into Iraq to secure the country after Hussein's fall. They didn't need the details, they knew because they were either experienced commanders or strategic and tactical experts. These sorts of people are trained to make just such analyses based on incomplete information.

Re:Where The Fault Lies (1)

Stanistani (808333) | about 6 years ago | (#23164110)

Victoria Clarke was the Pentagon flack that organized this, so as punishment, I shall link to a picture [agonist.org] of her - check out the sweater.

Re:Where The Fault Lies (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23164116)

hahah funny, Pentagon - Bush manipulating the media!!! If thats the case they need to hire a new propaganda minister, as the media rips them for no other reason than to just rip them. Seriously sounds like some stupid far fetched idea that came out of a blog with no reference. Quality of slashdot -1

Re:Where The Fault Lies (2, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 6 years ago | (#23164208)

As I said, now they get no quarter whatsoever. But it doesn't really matter now. The US is stuck in the quagmire for the forseeable future, so even if these analysts don't keep the populace blind, deaf and dumb, they served their purpose, and that's keeping the populace mollified when strong electoral for a shift in strategy would have made a difference.

Re:Where The Fault Lies (4, Insightful)

TexVex (669445) | about 6 years ago | (#23164356)

I came here to question how "objectivity" and "major networks" get put so close together in a for-real sentence. I mean, seriously. Even if you were to find that they report objectively on what they do report (which they don't), you'll find that they also slant the news by what they choose to report in the first place. I'm trying to figure out where Pentagon manipulation figures into it.

Re:Where The Fault Lies (4, Insightful)

Danse (1026) | about 6 years ago | (#23164536)

hahah funny, Pentagon - Bush manipulating the media!!! If thats the case they need to hire a new propaganda minister, as the media rips them for no other reason than to just rip them. Seriously sounds like some stupid far fetched idea that came out of a blog with no reference.
Seriously, you have no recollection of all the horseshit we were fed through the media in the months just before and after the war started?

Free media is a myth (4, Insightful)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | about 6 years ago | (#23164166)

To quote The Clash: "You have the right to free speech, so long as you're not dumb enough to actually try it."

News media are very careful to keep onside with the Whitehouse, Pentagon etc. If they don't then they get poor treatment from the media relations people. Instead of having their reporters embedded with frontline troops sending home eye (and advertising) catching footage, they get embedded in the transport depot and they get to film grunts washing trucks.

Instead of getting confirmation for some scoop, the staffers return their call an hour too late, making them miss a deadline.

For that reason, the news companies keep their reporters in check and fire those that do any true investigation. Look what happened to Peter Arnett: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Arnett [wikipedia.org].

Re:Free media is a myth (4, Funny)

roystgnr (4015) | about 6 years ago | (#23164538)

For that reason, the news companies keep their reporters in check and fire those that do any true investigation. Look what happened to Peter Arnett.

I went to that Wikipedia link expecting to be reminded that Arnett had been fired for criticizing the current Iraq War, and yup, no big surprise, he said something mildly critical on Iraq TV and he got fired for it.

Then I read on, to the section where his daughter "Elsa married conservative law professor John Yoo."

Holy crap. Getting fired for criticizing Bush's War, that's one thing... but having Mr. Torture Memos marry your daughter? The Godfather was a freaking amateur; as punishments/threats go, this blows "severed horse's head in your bed" out of the water!

Re:Where The Fault Lies (5, Insightful)

innerweb (721995) | about 6 years ago | (#23164276)

Nah. I place the real blame with the average news consumer who is not at all interested in truth, merely entertainment. Seems many people these days only want an answer for what ails them. A true answer is not needed. Same with the war. The truth was easy to spot before the war, but it was not in demand, so people easily swallowed the lie others offered instead. Can you imagine how the poor average viewer would feel if they saw the true results of their indifference to the realities of htis war before it started. Patriotism indeed!

Just like the current elections. How much of what is being bantered about is truth? "I will","When I am elected" and other such comments are not truths but are promises. The truths are only in the past and many of those are unfulfilled promises. As easily as this country was sold on an Iraq invasion in spite of all of the evidence to the contrary, it does not say much about the average Joe citizen's desire for truth or real factual news..

There are publications out there that produce news. Mostly unbiased news. They cost money. They are not free. They are not cheap. Why? Because only a relatively small part of the population is interested in what they have to say. So, they do not get a mass market to sell ads to. They do not get a large distribution to spread costs over. What they do get are people who want to know what is really happening and are willing to pay for that knowledge.

The media outfits are an entertainment industry. They are paid based upon number of copies sold and ad value based on reader rates. They are not in any way shape or form paid based upon factual news. They are only paid to provide what a large enough market segment wants to make the paper profitable. So, you can blame the media, but you would be asking them to go out of business by providing the cold hard truth to people who do not want it. They Brittany. They want Baseball. They want lots of meaningless stuff.

InnerWeb

Re:Where The Fault Lies (1)

Slashdot Suxxors (1207082) | about 6 years ago | (#23164520)

There are publications out there that produce news. Mostly unbiased news. They cost money. They are not free. They are not cheap. Why? Because only a relatively small part of the population is interested in what they have to say. So, they do not get a mass market to sell ads to. They do not get a large distribution to spread costs over. What they do get are people who want to know what is really happening and are willing to pay for that knowledge.
Could you point a young sap such as myself in the general direction of these publications you speak of then?

Re:Where The Fault Lies (3, Insightful)

ArmyOfFun (652320) | about 6 years ago | (#23164314)

Part of the blame certainly lies with the media organizations who didn't do a good job vetting conflicts of interest when it came to the various officer's business and active DoD ties.

What concerns me more though is that this was part of a planned and deliberate effort to mislead Americans and shape public opinion.

I believe the various departments under the executive branch can and should inform the public. They should explain what their actions are and the consequences of those actions are in a fact based and transparent manner. What they should not do is use propaganda and subversive tactics to build public support for whatever programs or actions the government is involved in. It taints public discourse and undermines democracy. Those tactics are appropriate for use on our enemies, not our own citizens.

Re:Where The Fault Lies (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23164592)

Those tactics are appropriate for use on our enemies, not our own citizens.
The current administration (and some previous) have defined our citizens as the enemy. At the beginning of the war they said dissenters were aiding and abetting the enemy (aka treason). They've decided they know the answer and democracy only gets in the way. I just don't understand why the anti-government conservatives are so happy with this.

Re:Where The Fault Lies (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23164586)

When the government for the people, of the people, and by the people starts manipulating the information given to the people to cast it in a good light... then you government has become very sick.

Your government is supposed to work for you, not manipulate what you think. They are supposed to do what you want them to do, not manipulate you into approving whatever they want to do.

I'm sorry, but your government has become very sick, and you people need to do something about it before it becomes too late. You are slowly but steadily sliding towards fascism, and you are enjoying the ride.

And... (1)

sleeping123 (1109587) | about 6 years ago | (#23164028)

And nobody was surprised.

Re:And... (2, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 6 years ago | (#23164094)

And nobody was surprised.


Well they aren't any more, when it's obvious that even the Surge has come up short on its objectives. But there was a time, not so long ago, when I think these "analysts" had a rather substantial influence on the electorate's feelings about the war in Iraq. They don't any more because everything they've said has turned out to be pure bullshit, but the US probably wouldn't be in this position if these puppets hadn't been delivering the White House's script on the major networks on a nightly basis.

Re:And... (1, Insightful)

inviolet (797804) | about 6 years ago | (#23164598)

Well they aren't any more, when it's obvious that even the Surge has come up short on its objectives. But there was a time, not so long ago, when I think these "analysts" had a rather substantial influence on the electorate's feelings about the war in Iraq. They don't any more because everything they've said has turned out to be pure bullshit, but the US probably wouldn't be in this position if these puppets hadn't been delivering the White House's script on the major networks on a nightly basis.

War is a contest of wills. It ends when one side decides they can't win. That decision is based very much on each side's assessment of the other side's morale.

Right now in Iraq, the bad guys can turn on CNN and see that America is teetering on the decision to give up and leave. That fact alone keeps them going -- they know that they just have to hold on a little bit longer and then they'll have it.

If they turned on the television, and every American channel was full of people breathing fire, publicly demanding that Iraq be nuked, they'd realize that they'll never prevail against so motivated an adversary. That realization, and only that realization, will end the war.

There are many, many objections to be made against our decision to start the war, against our continued involvement in the war, and against our tactics and strategy within the war. But here in the middle of the war is not the time to voice these objections.

After it's over, you can hang all our generals and pillory the CIA and impeach the President, fine, I don't care. But while our soldiers are still in danger, and while the bad guys are still watching our media to see if they are wearing us down, will you please shut the hell up and cheer for our side?!

You don't have to mean it, and afterward you can recant and tell anyone who will listen that the whole war was wrong wrong wrong... but until then, the enemy is watching our media and we need them to fear what they see. The sooner they give up, the fewer people get shot and the quicker it ends.

They're just emulating the Drive By Media (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23164034)

Soldiers coming back from Iraq are constantly complaining that the war that is being described by the media is not the same one they're experiencing in the field.

Wow, you mean the military is trying to win??? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23164064)

I would have never thought that a military would try to win a war. Hell, they should just put down their guns too.

Ugh (4, Interesting)

Uncle Focker (1277658) | about 6 years ago | (#23164066)

I hate to state the obvious, but is anyone actually surprised by this? Considering how they were willing to sell the public a whole pack of lies about the war during the buildup I would be more surprised has they not been influencing the stuff these analysts were saying. I think we all remember this absurd statement.

Well, I don't think it's likely to unfold that way, Tim, because I really do believe that we will be greeted as liberators. I've talked with a lot of Iraqis in the last several months myself, had them to the White House....The read we get on the people of Iraq is there is no question but what they want to get rid of Saddam Hussein and they will welcome as liberators the United States when we come to do that.

Re:Ugh (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23164216)

just because something didnt turn out to be true, doesnt mean it was lied about. also, i thought the media has been telling me that the war is going horribly wrong and that it was lost years ago. strange, this article tells me the media thinks the war is sugar and cream.

i just wish the people would have, you know, everyone in the states and allied countries, would have publicy said what a sucees things were. the biggest part of winning a conflict is morale. just look at the language used by the osama's mouthpeices.

instead the mantra, is we lost, go home. we will be left alone if we just let them be. yeah right. anyone here have a bully in middle school? how well did ignoring him/her work out for you? and yes, i am saying we arent the bully here. if someone hadnt knocked the books out of our hands we wouldnt have done anything violent.

Re:Ugh (1, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 6 years ago | (#23164344)

I don't have a problem with going after those that attacked the US on 9-11. It's just that it wasn't Iraq, and no one seriously thought it was. The US and international intelligence communities didn't think so. No one thought so. And yet Iraq was attacked.

Even if it's true that the whole thing was a colossal mistake. That means colossal incompetence. Whether you're a liar or a moron, you shouldn't be permitted to be in charge of one of the largest military forces on earth.

Re:Ugh (4, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | about 6 years ago | (#23164420)

instead the mantra, is we lost, go home. we will be left alone if we just let them be. yeah right. anyone here have a bully in middle school?

Yeah.

how well did ignoring him/her work out for you?

Remember the mantra is 'go home'. They never bothered me at home.

and yes, i am saying we arent the bully here. if someone hadnt knocked the books out of our hands we wouldnt have done anything violent.

When exactly did Iraq knock the books out of our hands?

Re:Ugh (0, Flamebait)

Uncle Focker (1277658) | about 6 years ago | (#23164466)

instead the mantra, is we lost, go home. we will be left alone if we just let them be. yeah right. anyone here have a bully in middle school? how well did ignoring him/her work out for you? and yes, i am saying we arent the bully here. if someone hadnt knocked the books out of our hands we wouldnt have done anything violent.
Ahh, so you're one of those diehard "Iraq did 9/11" loonies, are you? Makes total sense now.

hardly surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23164092)

Ok, honestly. Who didn't know this? Just watch Fox News people, 'freedom of press' has been history in US for long, long time.

Now THAT should be discussed in election debates, but no.

Re:hardly surprising (1)

spun (1352) | about 6 years ago | (#23164620)

Ok, honestly. Who didn't know this? Just watch Fox News people, 'freedom of press' has been history in US for long, long time.

Now THAT should be discussed in election debates, but no.
What ARE you talking about, no freedom of the press? Aren't you publicizing your opinion right now? Oh, you mean the freedom to have your opinion listened to by large numbers of people. Sorry, you have to earn that freedom by proving yourself capable of providing value to society by earning obscene amounts of money.

As always, freedom of the press only applies to those who own a press.

The real surprise (3, Insightful)

Palmyst (1065142) | about 6 years ago | (#23164108)

Is that the NYTimes did this analysis and published it. They had been as much a cheerleader for the war as anybody else.

Re:The real surprise (3, Informative)

DogDude (805747) | about 6 years ago | (#23164196)

Is that the NYTimes did this analysis and published it. They had been as much a cheerleader for the war as anybody else.
Huh? Are you serious? The Murdoch war-mongering propaganda machine is constantly lambasting the Times for being anti-war. The NY Times is one of the last respectable bastions of journalism. Anybody with a brain isn't going to be a cheerleader of this war.

the aspens are turning now... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23164412)

orly?

How do you explain Judith Miller then? She was deeply embedded in the Whitehouse propaganda machine and was one of the number one cheerleaders for the war. NYTimes pumped her shit out non-stop, and then years later gave a half-assed non-apology apology.

Re:The real surprise (2, Interesting)

ahabswhale (1189519) | about 6 years ago | (#23164564)

Huh? Are you serious? The Murdoch war-mongering propaganda machine is constantly lambasting the Times for being anti-war. The NY Times is one of the last respectable bastions of journalism. Anybody with a brain isn't going to be a cheerleader of this war.
lol...seriously, you must be kidding. The NY Times has become as bad as the rest of them and prior to the war they they were so busy spewing pro-war bullshit and not asking any serious questions.

People can blame the Pentagon or the Bush administration for BSing the media but the media ate it up hook line and sinker because they wanted to. It's because of the performance of the news organizations prior to the start of the Iraq war that I no longer have any confidence in any of them (including the ones that are considered near infallible). Ethics are journalism got divorced once profit became the primary motivation for reporting.

Re:The real surprise (2, Informative)

graphicsguy (710710) | about 6 years ago | (#23164608)

Do you know the NY Times hired Bill Kristol? In general I like the Times, but there is no "last respectable bastion of journalism".

No News Is Bad News (4, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 6 years ago | (#23164118)

Have you noticed that none of the corporate mass media outlets that are fundamentally condemned by the research results in that report have talked about it at all, even though the cat is now out of the bag?

That sound of crickets is the strongest proof that the corporate mass media is totally broken, and far worse than useless. It helped lie us into a catastrophic war, it helped distract us first from destroying our real enemies in the Qaeda, other terrorist networks, and their soulmates in office in this country, and now continues to lie and distract as we finally get another chance to pick a new government to lead us out of this valley of death.

But who cares, if someone, somewhere, isn't wearing a (made in China) lapel pin?

At least there's some coverage of this epochal story, on the Web. I wish the corporate mass media would hurry up and die already. It's blocking the view of the wreckage it's wrought.

Re:No News Is Bad News (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23164232)

"Have you noticed that none of the corporate mass media outlets that are fundamentally condemned by the research results in that report have talked about it at all, even though the cat is now out of the bag?"

Not really, but I've noticed you call people liars and then run away and hide when they ask you to support your claims.

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=530656&cid=23163500 [slashdot.org]

Why would I give a fuck about the opinion of someone like that?

Re:No News Is Bad News (1)

BobMcD (601576) | about 6 years ago | (#23164322)

Why would I give a fuck about the opinion of someone like that?
Seeing as this was posted AC, that's pretty funny.

Re:No News Is Bad News (3, Informative)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | about 6 years ago | (#23164342)

Glenn Greenwald writes [salon.com] about that specific point today.

The silence is deafening.

Re:No News Is Bad News (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23164460)

He knows, where do you think he regurgitated it from?

Basic Ideas (4, Insightful)

copponex (13876) | about 6 years ago | (#23164480)

1. The enemy of every state are it's own people, since they carry the power (dictatorship or not) to remove them from their position of privilege.

2. In poorly regulated capitalist countries with huge war (now called "defense") industries, there are always increasing needs to fight wars to fund the industry.

3. Once the media is profit based, it's in their interest to keep access and sell fear by helping to advance government/corporate goals.

Notice the drastic difference in public discourse in Britain where the BBC is taxpayer funded but not owned by the interest of any corporate entity, and America where the truth comes second to the dollar. In my opinion, as long as state-owned industries are open and easily reformed by the populace, they are far superior to the closed door dealings of private corporations.

No one has a "right" to what I would call obscene wealth - making 300 times your average employee for no reason other than the board is stuffed with your friends. And whether this wealth is possible only through human suffering matters very little to the robber barons at the top. It's not their kids losing limbs and lives over there, it's the economic draftees who are given the choice between getting shot at by local criminals or having a gun themselves to shoot back at "terrorists," who, as every other citizen of a civilization has done since time began, do not wish to be bound by foreign chains.

So? (2, Insightful)

Clay Pigeon -TPF-VS- (624050) | about 6 years ago | (#23164128)

So the military is trying to counter the traditional anti-war bias found in the mainstream media? How is that suprising. The media has been shaping hearts and minds here in the United States for decades. It is not unfair for the military to want a piece of the action.

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23164252)

Do you realize why Freedom of Press is extremely important? Given your own government/military feeding you bullshit with suppressed media you have no other way to go than down.

piece of the action? (4, Insightful)

douthat (568842) | about 6 years ago | (#23164262)

It's not the military's job to shape our hearts and minds.
Their job is to fight and win wars. (hopefully wars that are just) and nothing else.

Re:piece of the action? (1)

rbanffy (584143) | about 6 years ago | (#23164516)

Actually, their job is to protect the interests of the country. Sometimes, that may involve invading a country or helping in someone else's war. Making the military fight an unjustified war to further private industry interests is beyond appalling.

But, most certainly, it is NOT the job of any part of the government to influence public opinion. This meddling compromises the very heart of a democracy, which is a properly informed population.

And, please, don't anybody else even begin saying the US is a republic and that it somehow precludes it being a democracy.

Re:So? (2, Insightful)

lexDysic (542023) | about 6 years ago | (#23164318)

So the military is trying to counter the traditional anti-war bias found in the mainstream media? How is that suprising. The media has been shaping hearts and minds here in the United States for decades. It is not unfair for the military to want a piece of the action.

To me, it's not about the military, but about the media. Of course the military is going to try to convince the public to support its policies. What's disappointing is that so many mass-media organizations were offering up people with large, ongoing, financial ties to the military as "unbiased analysts". Surely we can all agree that this is wrong?

Re:So? (2, Insightful)

Boronx (228853) | about 6 years ago | (#23164404)

The same bias that pushed all debunking of WMD evidence to the back page? The same bias that generated so much praise for Powell's completely fact-free and degrading presentation to the UN? The same bias towards falling in love with John "100 years in Iraq", "Bomb Bomb Bomb Bomb Bomb Iran" McCain? The same press bias against mentioniong US casualties and even knowing how many Iraqi casualties there are? The same press bias towards ignoring the fact that the 9/11 hijackers were funded and managed through Saudi intelligence, and bin Laden is harbored in Pakistan, two of our closest so-called allies in this War on Terrorism?

Well, heck, why shouldn't they ignore those countries, we couldn't make war on them even if we wanted to.

Re:So? (5, Insightful)

nickhart (1009937) | about 6 years ago | (#23164554)

"...traditional anti-war bias found in the mainstream media?"

WTF are you smoking and where can I get some? The US media has always been (and always will be) a cheerleader for every war the US government engages in.

The real issue here is not that the Pentagon sought to entrench their own paid mouthpieces in every corporate media outlet--but that the mainstream corporate media was willingly complicit in this propaganda campaign and utterly failed to provide any alternate viewpoints against the war.

All of the information the US government put out to argue their case for war has been proven false. Plenty of information and sources refuting these official lies were available *before* the war began. Yet the media failed to provide anti-war voices the same platform and megaphone that they all-too-willingly gave to stooges working for the Pentagon and corporations that stood to benefit from the war.

Of course, this is the history of the media under capitalism in a nutshell. Truth (or facts, if you prefer) and the public interest are always trumped by the profit motive and corporations' inherent interest in supporting whichever government they depend upon for largess.

Re:So? (1)

Zoole (1276372) | about 6 years ago | (#23164682)

The idea has been around for awhile, the trouble is that it's found in governments turning towards fascism. Unfair? No. Concerning? Yes.

The worst thing about this is that tinfoil hat sales are suddenly starting to look justified and I just don't look good enough in metal headgear.

Bleh (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23164136)

These people (the analysts, that is) aren't idiotic sheep. They are mostly retired generals and such. It's not that the Pentagon/Bush/whoever is controlling them: they spread this information because it either
1) benefits them (financially, they are usually contractors)
and/or
2) they really believe in the message

(truth is probably a bit of both)

However, in the media's defense, who else will they go to for subject matter experts? It's good to hear all sides of the issue, just keep in mind that no one is TRULY objective...

And this is new? (2, Insightful)

overshoot (39700) | about 6 years ago | (#23164144)

The techniques have improved since Robert McNamara, but the game remains the same.

Bush and co watched Wag the Dog... (2, Funny)

Tmack (593755) | about 6 years ago | (#23164436)

Bush and his cronies just watched Wag the Dog [imdb.com] a few time while high and liked the idea enough to implement it....

tm

Balance (0)

Spetiam (671180) | about 6 years ago | (#23164154)

Oh well, it might balance out the anti-war bias in the media. Who gives credence to the mainstream media anymore, anyhow?

Um... (2, Insightful)

BobMcD (601576) | about 6 years ago | (#23164176)

I would have replied to this sooner, but my irony meter collided with my paradox prevention device, creating a HUGE mess.

Look, Mr Barstow, you're trying to sell a story about the media being used to paint a false picture to the American public, yes? But you, yourself, are a member of the media? Reporting on a topic that paints a picture of the picture-painters to the American public? In an election year?

Please, for the love of all that is good and logical, STFU. Or at least have the good sense to blog anonymously about this stuff like everyone else...

The next story, if the media is up to it's usual games, would be to present a count of how many times Mr Barstow's own organization has used these same experts to sell it's own rags to the masses.

Re:Um... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23164348)

Why are you saying STFU? Are you saying that, because the story is about the media, the media are incapable of reporting on it? In that case, who would? Nobody?

You think anonymous blogging would be a better way to get the story out? I don't think so - the anonymous blogger were saying we had a housing bubble long before it collapsed, and yet people were buying houses which were overpriced. So, maybe that's not the best way to get stories out.

Like it or not, the media reports on things that happen (if we're lucky.) If something that happened happened to happen at a media outlet, then I see no problem with that media outlet, or better still, the OTHER media outlets, talking about it.

Really, STFU?

Re:Um... (2, Insightful)

BobMcD (601576) | about 6 years ago | (#23164418)

Yes, really. S T F U.

I am, in fact, saying this pot is ineligible to call that kettle black without getting the requisite STFU from yours truly.

If one cannot trust the media, how is one to trust that the media can be trusted about the media being untrustworthy?

The Chewbacca Defense notwithstanding, this sort of thing is mostly just a waste of everyone's time when delivered from this outlet.

Re:Um... (2, Insightful)

spun (1352) | about 6 years ago | (#23164722)

So who would you listen to? Or have you already made up your mind, and your STFU is the equivalent of putting your fingers in your ears and screaming, "I can't hear you!" over and over again?

Do you actually disagree that the pentagon has been manipulating the media, or do you just think that that's a Good Thing(tm) and don't want the practice questioned?

Re:Um... (2)

lexDysic (542023) | about 6 years ago | (#23164478)

I would have replied to this sooner, but my irony meter collided with my paradox prevention device, creating a HUGE mess. Look, Mr Barstow, you're trying to sell a story about the media being used to paint a false picture to the American public, yes? But you, yourself, are a member of the media? Reporting on a topic that paints a picture of the picture-painters to the American public? In an election year? Please, for the love of all that is good and logical, STFU. Or at least have the good sense to blog anonymously about this stuff like everyone else...
So you don't care that many of the "unbiased analysts" presented in the media actually had large financial ties to the military? Is this because you were able to independently verify what the conditions were in Iraq? Because you don't consider the war to be important news? Or because you base your opinions on the war on your ideology and not information?

The next story, if the media is up to it's usual games, would be to present a count of how many times Mr Barstow's own organization has used these same experts to sell it's own rags to the masses.
Actually, the article included documentation of the times that the NYT did exactly that. No media organization is perfect, but I very much appreciate finding out where they aren't. I like information a lot, and (perhaps unfortunately) only large media corporations have the resources to interview high-profile people and travel extensively in or near war zones halfway around the world. What else can we do but try to keep them as honest as possible?

As to the hypocrisy, <sarcasm> you're criticizing a person? Aren't you a person? </sarcasm>

Re:Um... (3, Insightful)

dubl-u (51156) | about 6 years ago | (#23164510)

But you, yourself, are a member of the media? Reporting on a topic that paints a picture of the picture-painters to the American public?
Like the blogosphere, the the mainstream media is a self-examining device. For both, the answer to Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? [wikipedia.org] is supposed to be everybody.

The next story, if the media is up to it's usual games, would be to present a count of how many times Mr Barstow's own organization has used these same experts to sell it's own rags to the masses.
Christ, did you even read TFA? That question is asked and answered in a linked article [nytimes.com].

Where your pseudo-outrage is coming from, I have no idea. Is this some snide hipster pose that makes you feel part of the ironic elite? Or are you really opposed to the media trying to understand the largest media fuck-up of the decade?

Personally, I'd love to see more of this, so that next time we commit to spending tens of thousands of lives and trillions of dollars, we have some vague idea of what's really going on.

Re:Um... (1)

Zoole (1276372) | about 6 years ago | (#23164584)

The irony isn't that he wrote the story, it's that nobody before him had the balls to.

As far as the NY Times using the same experts, it's in the article. 9 out of 71 of the analysts wrote for them in Op-Ed pieces if I remember correctly.

Personally I'd rather read this sort of article(real news) than the distraction pieces that have become the entirety of news organizations. Obama flag pin anyone?

military analysts != journalists (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23164650)

If you RTFA, you should know the difference between military analysts, most of whom had ties with military contractors, had access to information granted by the Pentagon, and exempted from the same ethical rules set by the networks that hired them, and other journalists.

Military Analysts != Journalists (1)

microbee (682094) | about 6 years ago | (#23164800)

Sorry forgot to login last time.

If you RTFA, you should know the difference between military analysts, most of whom had ties with military contractors, had access to information granted by the Pentagon, and exempted from the same ethical rules set by the networks that hired them, and other journalists.

Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23164192)

Why do you all hate America so much?

objectivity (1)

solweil (1168955) | about 6 years ago | (#23164194)

There has not been the "appearance of objectivity of military analysts" for about a hundred years (I would say earlier, but I think it's not so clear-cut to extend the concepts of mass media and propaganda much before WWI). These days you can actually get the news from the horse's mouth. Things like Afghanistan and Iraq clips from liveleak.com and declassified and leaked information on cryptome.org and wikileaks.org, among many others, means we don't have to depend on massaged information from obviously biased sources. Who has depended on the usual television network sources for reliable war information for the last several decades anyway?

We welcome YouTube. The media must go. (1)

v(*_*)vvvv (233078) | about 6 years ago | (#23164300)

The media is a business. If celebrity gossip and privacy abuse proves anything it proves that the media has absolutely no ethical boundaries. Every ethical boundary that appears to exist is already the product of someone putting up the money to put it there. You can pay them to say anything, and if they deny you, it simply means someone is paying them more already to say something else.

A system of collective intelligence will emerge that will tap directly into the sources of news. The media as we know it will die. We care about the truth.

Re:We welcome YouTube. The media must go. (1)

dubl-u (51156) | about 6 years ago | (#23164656)

the media has absolutely no ethical boundaries.
The media is not a single thing. And the media is only selling what you're buying.

Count up where you spend your media money, and see how much of it is on high-quality news organizations that sell direct to the public, like the WSJ, the NYT, The Economist, or the Christian Science Monitor. If you're already paying good sources more than bad ones, only then do you have the right to complain like this. And don't forget to count the money you spend on cable and the time you devote to reading and watching ad-supported media, which is money to them.

A system of collective intelligence will emerge that will tap directly into the sources of news. The media as we know it will die. We care about the truth.
Sure, that's brilliant. I mean look at the quality of independent journalism that has emerged on YouTube. The peak of which seems to be Leave Britney Alone [youtube.com].

The people in power, both in corporations and in governments, are already very good at manipulating TV journalists, and pretty good at manipulating print journalists. They will have no trouble manipulating solo, amateur bloggers for some time to come.

Although I certainly hope we as citizens manage collectively to out-compete traditional journalism, it's ridiculous to say we don't need the mainstream media until citizen journalism is regularly way better on crucial stories. Otherwise you're just arguing for being even less informed.

Duh (2, Interesting)

Normal_Deviate (807129) | about 6 years ago | (#23164312)

The PR war *is* the war. We will not kill all the enemy. We will not kill most of the enemy. The war will end when one side loses the will to fight. That side will be the loser.

If you want to understand why righties think it is treasonous to protest an ongoing war, imagine what would have happened if, during the Vietnam war, we had been treated to television pictures of massive protests in Hanoi, with huge crowds demanding that the North Vietnamese government end the war, and high government saying it was impossible to defeat the US. Do you think it might have bucked up our fighting spirit, just a tad, to think that our enemy was near surrender?

Re:Duh (4, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | about 6 years ago | (#23164490)

If you want to understand why righties think it is treasonous to protest an ongoing war

      Dr. Goebbels would be so proud of you.

      This "war" is a misuse of an army to "police" a civilian population. They've even finally given up on calling them "terrorists" and "insurgents" and are now calling the resistance "criminals". Only with the possibility of facing summary execution if they act suspiciously or carry something that looks like a weapon.

      Soldiers are not policemen, and they never will be. Soldiers mixed with civilian populations for any great period of time THROUGHOUT HISTORY have only brought disastrous results - usually at the expense of the civilians.

      But you are saying that people should passively accept this COMPLETE misunderstanding of what an Army is supposed to do. We should continue to pay for the continued deployment of troops that are the CAUSE of the resistance in the first place? Remember that we're paying this two ways - first, the government is (again) borrowing money to fund the war. Money that could have been saved, or could have been spent on infrastructure HERE. AND you are also paying directly with $118/barrel oil.

      And you think we should just be quiet, otherwise the "terrorists win"? My friend, the terrorists have ALREADY won. America has changed its way of life, spent a shitload of money, lost a lot of troops and equipment (not to mention the injured), and polarized the entire arab world against it more than ever. Mission Accomplished.

      One thing is treason, another thing is "Intelligence". Is it treason when a government acts against the wishes of 70% of its people? Should we hang the 70%?

The single cause fallacy (4, Insightful)

overshoot (39700) | about 6 years ago | (#23164802)

AND you are also paying directly with $118/barrel oil.
There are just a few other contributors to that, you know -- including some major fields currently down due to the effects of weather, but mostly because China is on a major petroleum buying binge. Total demand for the stuff in the last five years is up a lot, while the dollar is down.

Put another way, the price of oil in Euros isn't up nearly as much.

Re:Duh (1)

rbanffy (584143) | about 6 years ago | (#23164794)

"We will not kill all the enemy. We will not kill most of the enemy"

Let's face it: this unjust war's most durable consequence will be to stir anti-American feelings among radicals all over the world. If now you are fighting wars to defend yourselves against radical Muslims (and there is a huge "if" about the real reasons for this specific war), just wait for the backslash that will, inevitably, come.

This planet is becoming an increasingly bad place to inhabit. Too bad we have little option.

Can I ask, seriously, WTF are you talking about? (1)

hassanchop (1261914) | about 6 years ago | (#23164330)

Hidden behind that appearance of objectivity of military analysts on the major networks


I really don't know where to start when analyzing the opinion of someone who seriously thinks that statement is possible.

Don't get me wrong, I think we'd all like to see real objectivity on TV, that's not what I'm saying. What I'm saying is, if you've turned on a TV anytime in the last... well hell a long time, and expected to see objectivity (especially from ANYTHING related to the military), then you wouldn't be the first person I'd talk to about the subject.

   

Pro-war media? (1)

PenguinX (18932) | about 6 years ago | (#23164332)

I'm sorry, I may just live a sheltered life in Seattle, but aside from some cable news stations I have yet to see any 'pro-war' media and the veil of objectivity seems very thin. If they are being paid off to be pro-war then they are doing a very bad job.

Re:Pro-war media? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23164740)

Do you believe "the surge is working"? That is a pro-war sentiment propagated by the media.

Fault of the media, not the Pentagon (2)

SoapBox17 (1020345) | about 6 years ago | (#23164352)

The summary is another one of those "OMFG THE GOVERNMENT I OUT TO GET ME" so common on slashdot now... but really the problem here is that the media allowed this to happen. I would be disappointed if the government didn't try to leverage its position to get favorable news. God knows, everyone else on earth would do so or already does so (remember hearing about how so many of these canned "news" reports that appear on local news around the country are really corporate agendas).

The media are the ones who are wrong here, not the pentagon.

This is news? (2, Insightful)

dtjohnson (102237) | about 6 years ago | (#23164354)

Hidden behind that appearance of objectivity of military analysts on the major networks, is a Pentagon information apparatus...

Duh.

Big Headline News (1)

charlesbakerharris (623282) | about 6 years ago | (#23164378)

EXTRA! EXTRA! Government Uses Propaganda During A War!

When stuff like this passes as surprising... we have become a naive, dumb people.

DC can't manipulate itself out of a paper bag (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23164442)

I have yet to see a smidgen of pro war media. Every tidbit of news I have seen has been condemning the war: making remarks about how Bush manipulated the data to get us into a war, how marines are dropping like flies, we're on the edge of a complete break down, billions wasted, how things are no better than they were five years ago, any number of other doctored facts. If this is government manipulation, I may in fact, regain a little bit of trust in the media.

This will continue (1)

superbus1929 (1069292) | about 6 years ago | (#23164448)

This will continue so long as our media engages in a 24/7 fight for the eyes of a country that only pays attention to things that are colourful, shocking, and don't make them think too much. We're letting them off the hook, and articles like this - years after this war should have been stopped - are simply too fucking late.

Appearance of Objectivity? Where? (1)

RobertM1968 (951074) | about 6 years ago | (#23164464)

"Hidden behind that appearance of objectivity of military analysts on the major networks, is a Pentagon information apparatus..."

I never found any appearance of objectivity - at least not from the likes of Fox News and their cohorts. Are there really people who got fooled into thinking Fox and others were being objective? If so, then it is a sad day for the relative IQ of the U.S. populace...

And no, I dont watch Fox News (when I dont have to), but someone in my house does... I keep telling him it's more like the Fox Comedy Channel and that he can get a more accurate portrayal of news events from watching Comedy Central.

PBS just showed this for WW I (1)

peter303 (12292) | about 6 years ago | (#23164494)

In a PBS show about Rudyard Kipling's son going off WW I call My Son Jack, Rudyard was in the British Propaganda Bureau that routinely manipulated the news.

Nothing new under the Sun int he the 21st century.

Umm...and this is news??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23164500)

Now, if you knew of some way to stop it....

anyone hear of yellow journalism? the uss maine? (5, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 6 years ago | (#23164506)

people react to this revelation as if there was some sort of mythical time and place where the media was pure as snow and that the arrival of gw bush has somehow corrupted it

folks, this is standard operating procedure, always has been, and ALWAYS WILL BE. here's a story: war hawks trump up a lie about military activities in a country they want to invade. 2003? no, 1898:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_journalism#Spanish-American_War [wikipedia.org]

people need to realize the media has always been corrupt, always has been ideological, always had an aggressive agenda, and always will be, and people need to have a better appreciation for the value of a robust bullshit meter

the proper response to this story about pentagon manipulations is not "how can we clean up the media", because you can't, but "what was wrong with me when i thought the media could ever be pure?"

the ideal world is not a fair and impartial media: this is a ridiculous fairy tale beleived by naive fools. the ideal world is openly ideological media, OF EVERY IDEOLOGICAL STRIPE. then let the viewer pick and choose what he or she thinks is true based on his or her own proclivities

the danger is a country that tries to systematically shut down right-leaning media, or a country that tries to systematically shut down a left-leaning media, or only has a state controlled media. no: give us fox news, and give us cnn, and msnbc, and give us anyone else who wants to play the game, and let all of the ideologies screm all of the manipulations and propaganda they want as loud as they want

and thereby train the general populace to have a muscular bullshit meter

that is the best you can do, and its not the worst case scneario, its the best: you don't get a healthy bullshit meter in an environment of no propaganda. you only get a healthy bullshit meter by being exposed to ever increasing toxic doses of propaganda, until you are immune

think about it: a "pure" media would spawn a general population with weak, flabby minds, blindly trusting whatever the media said. meanwhile, a corrupt, vicious lying media with screaming propaganda and subtle outright manipulation everywhere would breed strong distrustful minds. the caveat being of course, is that both the left and right be allowed to play this game, that there be more than one media outlet

(sidebar: if you believe all media companies are pretty much the same, with the same ideological spin: congratulations, you're a fringe character. you are either so far left or so far right, you can't tell the difference between mildly left or mildly right, it all looks the same to you. in whcih case, being on the fringe, you simply don't matter)

so those of you who grieve at the rise of fox news: celebrate it friend: all diseases need an innoculation. consider fox news a vaccination against propaganda. turn it on, let your mind soak in it. its not poisoning you, you are building resistance to a disease

The remedy to false speech (1)

overshoot (39700) | about 6 years ago | (#23164730)

no: give us fox news, and give us cnn, and msnbc, and give us anyone else who wants to play the game, and let all of the ideologies screm all of the manipulations and propaganda they want as loud as they want
From Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc.:

We begin with the common ground. Under the First Amendment, there is no such thing as a false idea. However pernicious an opinion may seem, we depend for its correction not on the conscience of judges and juries, but on the competition of other ideas.

NYT is complaining? (0, Troll)

Joe62549 (979688) | about 6 years ago | (#23164526)

Someone manipulating the news? And the NYT complaining about it? Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.....

The problem is the lack of a free speech culture (4, Informative)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | about 6 years ago | (#23164708)

It's all very well to have free speech written into the constitution, but it's another to have a culture of free speech. Ultimately, it's the culture that is more important. American teenagers grow up thinking that free speech means freedom for individuals to put the word 'fuck' on their T-shirts with no conception that it is one of the ways we keep tyrannies in check and enable the free flow of ideas that leads to the betterment of society. It's easy to get sidelined by trivial free speech issues like nipples at the superbowl and forget that the media should be one of the channels by which we find out if we are heading for tyranny.

Consider Britain during the Thatcher era. Britain lacks strong constitutional free speech protections and so the government imposed a ban on broadcasting the speech of Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams (of whom I am no supporter BTW). But the media had a culture of free speech regardless of the law and found ways to work around it, eg. by dubbing video of Adams. A strong culture will trump laws. Unfortunately, Americans are sitting on their laurels and taking their free speech for granted. It's not good enough to be written into law if Americans don't work at it.

No "Expert" depends on Military for Info (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23164710)

If they want to be knowledgeable, they should go over and see firsthand what's happening. Michael Yon, Bill Rogio, J.D. Johannes, Austin Bay, and Michael Totten are five who do. Neither do they hang out in some Green Zone hotel for two weeks taking "stories" from whomever can shmooze them with the smoothest lines that fit their preconceived notions.

The poster just doesn't like the fact that the war isn't going according to the old Vietnam war playbook. Which was full of lies anyway.

I was wondering when this story would hit ./ (1)

Zoole (1276372) | about 6 years ago | (#23164760)

This just in: it turns out Bush's administration has been using underhanded methods.

Later tonight we'll delve into rumors that the world is round and kittens are cute, but now for the weather...

Interesting.... (1)

3seas (184403) | about 6 years ago | (#23164776)

... that there are people who don't know this?

Or that its time to fess up to what the public already knows.

"Clear Channel" yeah buddy!!!
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