"Hello Soldier Boy," Oh Boy, She's Spewing Out Her Propaganda

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In April, the New York Times reported that the Pentagon was using retired military analysts to spread its message-of-the-day on your TV, without any disclosure of the relationship.

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.

At the time the White House defended the practice. I thought the controversy was smothered. But strangely, the FCC is doing something worthwhile. It's probing the relationships.

The FCC is looking into whether TV networks and certain on-air analysts broke the law by failing to disclose to viewers that the apparently independent analysts were in fact part of a Pentagon-funded information campaign, a spokesman for the commission said.

"What I can confirm is that the enforcement bureau at the FCC is looking into this matter, and I can confirm that they have sent letters in connection with it, seeking information," the spokesman said late Tuesday, without elaborating on when the inquiry began or who its targets are.

More reason on propaganda here.

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  1. I’m shocked, shocked to find that propaganda is going on in here!

  2. Weigel,

    That title is misleading. I thought this was going to be “Full Metal Jacket” thread.

  3. I’m shocked, SHOCKED that the FCC might do something about this. I thought they were busy looking for nipples and cussing.

  4. Brand new bag, Episiarch.

  5. Disclaimer: I work for the DoD, but all views expressed are specifically my own.

    First, how do I this on the this gravy train?

    More seriously, why exactly is the FCC probing this? This isn’t like stock manipulation (which would be more FTC/SEC anyway). What law is there that someone appearing on US TV says they work for the govt? or any other organization? *Everybody* that appears on tv has an agenda. Been like that since Hoover did his appearence as Secretary of Commerce.

  6. First, how do I this on the this gravy train?

    well, at least it’s obvious why I’m not employed by the DoD to speak or write for them

  7. The FCC is looking into whether TV networks and certain on-air analysts broke the law

    Bzzt. Anything sentence beginning with this phrase will end in a violation of free speech.

  8. Who to hold responsible, the sell-out journalists or whoever reads and trusts said propagandists? If you don’t know the stench of a rat, how will you ever know if you are infested? Terminex takes advantage of this reality every day as the core of their business model.

  9. She’s Spewing Out Her Propaganda

    I do believe that’s the first Sparks reference I’ve seen here. Kudos.

  10. I’m confused. Are the feds actually paying these guys, or just giving them access in hopes of persuading them to see things W’s way?

    It would be better for the Feds to give them no access?

  11. 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.

    TV and radio hires retired military as analysts, based on long government service. The military, instead of letting them take educated guesses about what’s happening, provides briefings so the analysts will have the Pentagon take on what they’re talking about.

    How is this a problem? Do we really think the briefings will make them less objective than the long military service? When I hear “retired general/admiral” I generally presume some pro-military leaning.

    Can’t opposition organizations stage similar briefings to present their side?

    The FCC is looking into whether TV networks and certain on-air analysts broke the law by failing to disclose to viewers that the apparently independent analysts were in fact part of a Pentagon-funded information campaign, a spokesman for the commission said.

    This will end up another “I’m (candidate name) and I approve this message” rule. Two-minute disclosures setting up ten-second sound-bites.

  12. What law is there that someone appearing on US TV says they work for the govt? or any other organization?

    The laws in the budget that say “No part of any appropriation contained in this or any other Act shall be used for publicity or propaganda purposes within the United States not heretofore authorized by the Congress.” Targeting US citizens with propaganda without clearing it with Congress is an illegal use of US tax dollars.

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