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Ear to the Ground

NYT: Pentagon Primed TV Military Experts

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Posted on Apr 19, 2008
New York Times report
nytimes.com

Talking heads: Retired Col. Kenneth Allard (upper left) says he felt “hosed” by the administration after information that conflicted with what he and others had been told about Iraq eventually emerged.

The Bush administration’s skill in working the media to promote its interests is not a new story, but The New York Times has just uncovered a new twist: According to the paper, administration insiders courted a troop of retired military men to serve as trained PR agents for the White House on major broadcast outlets. 

What was in it for them? Well, as the report explains, “Most of the analysts have ties to military contractors vested in the very war policies they are asked to assess on air.” Access to top administration officials equaled money, and lots of money was on the line.


The New York Times:

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.

Analysts have been wooed in hundreds of private briefings with senior military leaders, including officials with significant influence over contracting and budget matters, records show. They have been taken on tours of Iraq and given access to classified intelligence. They have been briefed by officials from the White House, State Department and Justice Department, including Mr. Cheney, Alberto R. Gonzales and Stephen J. Hadley.

In turn, members 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.

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.

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By cyrena, April 21, 2008 at 9:12 am Link to this comment

Fadel,

Thanks for the quotes from Iacocca. The only trouble I have with them, is that I’m wondering how or why it is that he’s JUST GETTING AROUND TO THIS?

Coming as late in the day as it has, and considering that he was part of the problem before he started hollering the same stuff NOW, that we’ve been hollering for nearly 8 years, it’s sort of sounds like a whole bunch more rhetoric.

Yep, it’s real nice that he put Chrysler back together. (sort of ). It’s the only American made car that I would buy, (if I could afford to buy a car). But, when he goes on about how nobody would have thought that the “Big Three” would have been Japanese automakers, it would appear that he missed several clues himself.

I remember my dad telling me over 3 decades ago, why he would ONLY buy Japanese cars, rather than anything the US Automobile manufactures, in his words, SHOVED DOWN OUR THROATS! He went on to say that the difference, (at least then) between US and Japanese manufactures was that the Japanese actually ASKED the consumer what they wanted in a vehicle, and then built it accordingly. The US manufacturers DECIDED what they wanted the consumer to buy, and then built them accordingly.

Now you mentioned this, which I think is the most important part of your post…

•  “…Iacocca Thoughts (Part 2) I see that Iacocca is openly calling for a revolution. Let’s take him on his word and ask him to lead this revolution!”

Indeed, if he’d like to lead, or do more than just talk the same stuff that we’ve been hollering ourselves for nearly a decade (or more – since we didn’t just figure this out, and our OUTRAGE has been all over the place for a real long time now) then I say SURE..let’s get it going Lee!

And, I wonder if that means that I can call him up on his Blackberry the next time I run out of money when I’m trying to bail dozens of my colleagues out of jail, for doing EXACTLY WHAT HE’S HOLLERING FOR NOW? That would be helpful.

In other words, maybe he could give some acknowledgement to the fact that there have been a whole lot of folks trying to do exactly this, for a real long time now. I wonder if he’s tried to get anywhere near the Nation’s Capitol or the White House lately?

Just a thought.

DennisD, you write this:

•  “If it doesn’t crystalize what’s wrong with this country and it’s lack of leadership I don’t know what does. “

I can only say that I think we figured it out without the book.

If in fact Ron Paul is such an excellent choice, do you supposed HE’S willing to ‘risk his life’ to ‘save our country’?

For what I believe to be obvious reasons, I would say…NOT! Others have, and he hasn’t been one of them. (and no, I’m not just talking about military service, since there haven’t been any wars fought in the past century based on ‘saving our lives’ or OUR country.)

Still, if Ron Paul and Lee Iacocca wanna start a revolution where they actually risk their OWN lives, I’m right in there with ‘em. (but then, I have been all along).

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By Expat, April 21, 2008 at 7:16 am Link to this comment

^ point is?

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By DennisD, April 20, 2008 at 11:40 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Fadel -Excellent, excellent, excellent post. I have only recently heard of Lee Iaoocca’s book “Where have all the leaders gone”.

If it doesn’t crystalize what’s wrong with this country and it’s lack of leadership I don’t know what does.

I personally think Ron Paul was the best choice we had to institute the changes necessary to begin to turn this country around. Hope, faith and promises arent’t going to cut it. We’re too far down the road of no return for mere rhetoric to help. It will take decisive action and changes that aren’t going to be agreeable to all to get it done. But that’s what real leadership is about.

I’ve fought in one war I was told was to save this country only to find out it was BS. I’m ready to fight in a revolution to save it this time because I know it’s necessary and it isn’t BS.


I can only hope others are willing to make the same sacrifice. If you’re not willing to give up your life if necessary to save this country for uour children and their’s if not for yourself, I don’t want to read your BS blogs. The second American revolution starts now. You’re either in it or out of it. Take your f*cking pick. Vote ALL the incumbent scumbags out or arm yourselves for real change. Not some BS you read on a sign some paid or delusional stooge is holding up at a campaign rally.

Wake up - it’s your country these scumbags are giving away. Get fu*king mad and get even. When have you had enough of these stick figures you’re given to vote for.

Get motivated people. Get it done.

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By Fadel Abdallah, April 20, 2008 at 8:14 pm Link to this comment

Iacocca Thoughts (Part 2) I see that Iacocca is openly calling for a revolution. Let’s take him on his word and ask him to lead this revolution!
==============================================
“Name me a leader who has a better idea for homeland security than making us take off our shoes in airports and throw away our shampoo?”

“We’ve spent billions of dollars building a huge new bureaucracy, and all we know how to do is react to things that have already happened.”

“Name me one leader who emerged from the crisis of Hurricane Katrina. Congress has yet to spend a single day evaluating the response to the hurricane, or demanding accountability for the decisions that were made in the crucial hours after the storm.”

“Everyone’s hunkering down, fingers crossed, hoping it doesn’t happen again. Now, that’s just crazy. Storms happen. Deal with it. Make a plan. Figure out what you’re going to do the next time.”

“Name me an industry leader who is thinking creatively about how we can restore our competitive edge in manufacturing. Who would have believed that there could ever be a time when “The Big Three” referred to Japanese car companies? How did this happen, and more important, what are we going to do about it?”

“Name me a government leader who can articulate a plan for paying down the debit, or solving the energy crisis, or managing the health care problem.”

“The silence is deafening. But these are the crises that are eating away at our country and milking the middle class dry.”

“I have news for the gang in Congress. We didn’t elect you to sit on your asses and do nothing and remain silent while our democracy is being hijacked and our greatness is being replaced with mediocrity.”

“What is everybody so afraid of? That some bonehead on Fox News will call them a name? Give me a break. Why don’t you guys show some spine for a change?”

“Had Enough? Hey, I’m not trying to be the voice of gloom and doom here. I’m trying to light a fire. I’m speaking out because I have hope I believe in America. In my lifetime I’ve had the privilege of living through some of America’s greatest moments. I’ve also experienced some of our worst crises: the “Great Depression”, “World War II”, the “Korean War”, the “Kennedy Assassination”, the “Vietnam War”, the 1970s oil crisis, and the struggles of recent years culminating with 9/11. If I’ve learned one thing, it’s this: “You don’t get anywhere by standing on the sidelines waiting for somebody else to take action.”

“Whether it’s building a better car or building a better future for our children, we all have a role to play. That’s the challenge I’m raising in this book. It’s a call to “Action” for people who, like me, believe in America . It’s not too late, but it’s getting pretty close. So let’s shake off the crap and go to work. Let’s tell ‘em all we’ve had “enough.”

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By Fadel Abdallah, April 20, 2008 at 8:02 pm Link to this comment

Remember Lee Iacocca? The man who rescued Chrysler Corporation from it’s death throes. He has a new book, and here are some excerpts, which were forwarded to me by a friend. I am sharing and wondering if Iacocca, the man you might have thought would always be on the side of corporate America and the capitalist elites, is now lamenting our state of affairs and calling for action!
====================================
“Am I the only guy in this country who’s fed up with what’s happening?”
“Where the hell is our outrage?”
“We should be screaming bloody murder.”
“We’ve got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, we’ve got corporate gangsters stealing us blind, and we can’t even clean up after a hurricane much less build a hybrid car. But instead of getting mad, everyone sits around and nods their heads when the politicians say, “Stay the course.”

“Stay the course? You’ve got to be kidding. This is America , not the damned “Titanic”. I’ll give you a sound bite: “Throw all the bums out!”

“You might think I’m getting senile, that I’ve gone off my rocker, and may be I have. But someone has to speak up I hardly recognize this country anymore.”
“The most famous business leaders are not the innovators but the guys in handcuffs. While we’re fiddling in Iraq , the Middle East is burning and nobody seems to know what to do. And the press is waving ‘pom-poms’ instead of asking hard questions.” “That’s not the promise of the ” America ” my parents and yours traveled across the ocean for. I’ve had enough. How about you?”

“I’ll go a step further. You can’t call yourself a patriot if you’re not outraged. This is a fight I’m ready and willing to have. The Biggest"C” is Crisis!”
“Leaders are made, not born. Leadership is forged in times of crisis.It’s easy to sit there with your feet up on the desk and talk theory. Or send someone else’s kids off to war when you’ve never seen a battlefield yourself. It’s another thing to lead when your world comes tumbling down.”

“On September 11, 2001, we needed a strong leader more than any other time in our history. We needed a steady hand to guide us out of the ashes. A Hell of a Mess! So here’s where we stand. We’re immersed in a bloody war with no plan for winning and no plan for leaving. We’re running the biggest deficit in the history of the country. We’re losing the manufacturing edge to Asia, while our once-great companies are getting slaughtered by health care costs. Gas prices are skyrocketing, and nobody in power has a coherent energy policy. Our schools are in trouble. Our borders are like sieves. The middle
class is being squeezed every which way. These are times that cry out for leadership.”
“But when you look around, you’ve got to ask:“Where have all the leaders gone?” Where are the curious, creative communicators? Where are the people of character, courage,conviction, omnipotence, and common sense? I may be a sucker for alliteration, but I think you get the point.”

(Part 2 follows)

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By cyrena, April 20, 2008 at 12:26 pm Link to this comment

There might be more of us that have long ago dumped the MSM than you might imagine expat.

Actually, I’ve NEVER paid any attention to televised news media. I’ve even gone for years (prior to the Internet) without even owning a TV. Since my family thought that was some sort of major hardship, they’d always find a way to get me one. (even though it should have been obvious that if I wanted one, I’d find a way to have one.)

Anyway,  I don’t use the one I have now either. Matter of fact, the only channel that is accessible without cable subscription is ABC. Since I don’t watch ABC, and since nothing else is worth me paying for cable access, it’s been another 6 years since I’ve watched TV, at least in the environment that I control myself.

That said, the Internet HAS made the difference for a lot of people, which is how I happened to read this story from the New York Times before TD posted it here. It’s delivered to my email box.

Anyway, I said that to say that when we think of ‘media’ are you including print media, such as all of the newspapers/mags that have been around for decades and centuries? Because for the most part, that’s what folks seem to be blogging on. It’s been the only place I’ve relied on for news for decades, and yet…it is not perfect either.

For instance, as a regular reader of the NYT as well as my own LA Times, I was first flabbergasted and then appalled by the articles from Michael Gordon at the NYT, specifically in the lead-up to the war on Iraq, and since. But, how many folks would have seen through his stuff as the propaganda that it was? I mean, he might as well have been on the Dick Bush staff. And at the time, it was very frustrating, because like many people, those were publications that I relied on for information.

Same thing with the Washington Post. There was a time when they too provided excellent journalism, (at least in my opinion) and occasionally, they still do. But overall, they’ve done a really piss-poor job in keeping the public informed since the Coup of 2000, when these gangsters high-jacked our government.

For the most part, my hometown news, the LA Times is pretty much still in the ball game, but it would be hypocritical to say that they haven’t been as subject to the corporate corruption as all of the others, and that it hasn’t compromised their operations, at least to a degree.

So, I only say to cut us a bit of slack if it seems like we’re only blogging, and not much else. Fortunately for all of us, there IS more available now, in terms of the internet, and on-line journalism. But, it does take some effort to get through it, and judge it accordingly. There is as much junk out there, as there is on MSM.

Here’s a link to Greenwald’s take on Michael Gordon, which I was pleased to discover, if only because it was personally helpful to have confirmation of my own observations.
http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2007/02/12/gordon/

It hasn’t been that long really, since we HAVE been able to locate any measure of the truth in journalism, even on the Internet. That’s why I can remember so vividly when Truthout.org came to the space, as well as Democracy Now! And others since. Before that, there was that REALLY dark time, and especially since I spent several years of it in Texas.

So, we’re just catching up here. Doesn’t mean we aren’t ‘acting’ though, just as I did before the actual launching of the war on Iraq. Remember all of those millions of people protesting and demonstrating world-wide? Ah…maybe some people DON’T remember, because back then, NONE of the US media covered any of it!! At least not the print or televised media.

So, we’ve come a long way since then. And, this particular piece from the NYT is one of their better ones. The interactive features provided a lot of information as well.

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By rodney, April 20, 2008 at 12:20 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

For the love of money.That is America. That is why America will eventually fall. Just like the Roman empire. Generals are like the greedy Corporations. Make the dollar at the Country’s expense. Just like Halliburton,KRB and Blackwater. All Bush cronies raping the US of it’s treasury for their own greed. While the rest of America run up 48 trillion dollars in debt that will never be repaid. Greedy mortgage lenders ruined the housing industry. Greedy oil companies gouge the American consumer. A impearealistic President settles a old score by starting a war in a country that was not a threat to us. And former Generals as well as Bushes cronies make money off a illegal and immoral war.
This is what America has become. Our dollar has been devalued because of greed and debt. Our economy will soon collaspe at the benefit of a few if America doesn’t change it’s ways soon. And all of the lies spin and deception that we have heard over the last forty years won’t matter. Gay marriage,abortion,guns religion,race, None of that will matter when our country becomes the next Haiti.

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By msgmi, April 20, 2008 at 8:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

These ‘type’ of military analysts will do anything for a buck. For a few shillings they sold out their honor and integrity as enablers of the Iraqi war charade. Like good soldiers, they fall-in and goose-step to the sound of the cash register. We may be impressed by the honor of the military uniform, but sometimes not by the individual(s) who wears it.

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By msgmi, April 20, 2008 at 7:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

These military analysts will do anything for a buck. For a few shillings they sold out their honor and integrity for enabling the Iraqi war charade. Like good soldiers, they fall-in and goose-step to the sound of the cash register. We may be impressed by the honor of the military uniform, but sometimes not by the individual(s) who wears it.

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By Expat, April 20, 2008 at 7:23 am Link to this comment

^ LOL, and no I won’t buy from the likes of them; but would I recognise them, I think not.

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By dick, April 20, 2008 at 7:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Col. Allard teaches at the University of Texas San Antonio and is a columnist for the Express News, San Antonio.I am astonished by these findings. Are these six patriots or what? Mills devotes an entire chapter to how the media manipulates the masses, in his book “The Power Elite” written 50 years ago, but as valid now as then.

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, April 20, 2008 at 6:54 am Link to this comment

Military’s doin it.

http://blog.wired.com/defense/2008/03/report-recruit.html

Israel has been doing this for years.

Try to say anything critical of Israel and the select few posters here at Truthdig who never comment on anything else show up and display their
loyalties.

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By Expat, April 20, 2008 at 6:50 am Link to this comment

^ treasonous traitors.  The media, 95% of it; are a bunch of complicitous, lazy bastards, devoid of intelligence or critical thinking skills.  Afraid to lose access?  Are you serious?  You piss-ant sycophants; get off your lazy ass and do some real journalism.  There is real reporting out there: Look for it!!  I haven’t owned a TV since 1994 and don’t watch mainstream anything.  Just as we’re a bunch of lazy complicit idiots who refuse to stop Bush, why on gods green earth would we do anything about an incompetent media.  God, can we talk/blog up a storm; but do anything?  As in act?  Oh, um, gee, uh, I think I hear my mommy calling, bye.  This article isn’t news and if it is you haven’t been paying attention.  Turn off your goddamn TV and get real; you’ll feel better for it I promise.  Free your selves little by little; it doesn’t hurt; promise.  Turn off the MSM and they will change or die a deserved death!  Live free or die!

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By TDoff, April 20, 2008 at 6:00 am Link to this comment

This program is going to have a backlash.

Look at this motley group of generals.

When the Bush cabal has sucked them dry, when their pentagon contacts have dried up and their ‘consultant’ value is zero, and they are forced to find real work…..and you drive up to a Jack in the Box, and they ask for your order…..are you really going to buy used food from one of these mopes?

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By Eso, April 20, 2008 at 2:13 am Link to this comment

It has been obvious for some time that America’s intellectuals have been castrated by America’s militarists, which cuddle under its wing a long castrated “Christianity” as well. Thus, while Christians and academics battle it out among each other (who knows what), violence has a hell of a whirl for itself.

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By Hammo, April 20, 2008 at 12:51 am Link to this comment

Now that some military media analysts are admitting they may have been manipulated, what will they do the make ammends?

Some people allege that serious war crimes have been committed, such as torture and other violations of US and international law.

Will these senior military men do the honorable thing now?

“Going in Circles: Vietnam, Iraq, Calls for Impeachment”

Truthout.org
16 January 2007

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/011607D.shtml

Author’s blog: http://jointreconstudygroup.blogspot.com/

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By Hammo, April 20, 2008 at 12:41 am Link to this comment

Will the same pattern be repeated in regard to the reported goals of the Bush-Cheney bunch to attack Iran?

Will more high-ranking officers be compromised, or find it convenient to go along?

Food for thought in the article ...

“Will Bush, Cheney Attack Iran? When and Why?”

Truthout.org
02 February 2007

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/020207A.shtml

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By BLOG DOG, April 20, 2008 at 12:26 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Two things of which never to forget:

1. “Deception is a state of mind and the mind of the state.” - James Jesus Angelton - Director of CIA Counter Intelligence (1954-74)

2. “The Central Intelligence Agency owns everyone of any significance in the major media.” - William Colby - Director of the CIA (1973-76)

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