Here’s a new twist on an old revolving door: not only are some senior ex-military personnel cashing in on their experience by becoming lobbyists for defense contractors, they’re also appearing on-air as news analysts — and, granted special access by the Bush administration, they’re flacking for the war. The New York Times has the story. Here’s the overview:
To the public, these men are members of a familiar fraternity, presented tens of thousands of times on television and radio as “military analysts” whose long service has equipped them to give authoritative and unfettered judgments about the most pressing issues of the post-Sept. 11 world.
Hidden behind that appearance of objectivity, though, is a Pentagon information apparatus that has used those analysts in a campaign to generate favorable news coverage of the administration’s wartime performance, an examination by The New York Times has found.
The effort, which began with the buildup to the Iraq war and continues to this day, 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.
In some cases, the Times reports, analysts disseminated “facts” they believed to be untrue: “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.” Read on.