THE NEW YORK TIMES reported on Sunday that the government has been feeding the media information through retired military leaders who work as consultants to media outlets. Here are a few sections from the amazing story:
Internal Pentagon documents repeatedly refer to the military analysts as “message force multipliers” or “surrogates” who could be counted on to deliver administration “themes and messages” to millions of Americans “in the form of their own opinions.”
Though many analysts are paid network consultants, making $500 to $1,000 per appearance, in Pentagon meetings they sometimes spoke as if they were operating behind enemy lines, interviews and transcripts show. Some offered the Pentagon tips on how to outmaneuver the networks, or as one analyst put it to Donald H. Rumsfeld, then the defense secretary, “the Chris Matthewses and the Wolf Blitzers of the world.” Some warned of planned stories or sent the Pentagon copies of their correspondence with network news executives. Many — although certainly not all — faithfully echoed talking points intended to counter critics.
Did the media drop the ball by not checking the backgrounds of the military consultants they interviewed on air?
Is there a danger in the government infiltrating the media like this? Or is this no different that allowing a government official to speak their mind on air?
9 months ago