Jan
03
2012

Pentagon Investigates Pentagon Pundits Scandal

On December 25, New York Times reporter David Barstow filed this update on the scandal that he broke back in 2008: A Pentagon public relations program that sought to transform high-profile military analysts into "surrogates" and "message force multipliers" for the Bush administration complied with Defense Department regulations and directives, the Pentagon's inspector general has concluded after a two-year investigation. Those who don't recall Barstow's original story can catch up by reading this FAIR action alert (4/22/08): According to the Times, the Pentagon recruited over 75 retired generals to act as "message force multipliers" in support of the Iraq War, […]

May
09
2009

Pentagon Faces Reality Still Denied in MSM

The current Democracy Now! (5/8/09) features New York Times Pentagon Pundits reporter David Barstow giving Amy Goodman the background on the U.S. military's retraction of a report clearing itself of domestic propaganda wrongdoing: So the report comes out in January, and it effectively exonerated the program. Now, one thing your viewers should know is that as soon as the stories ran, the program itself was suspended by the Pentagon, pending the outcome of this investigation. But what happened earlier this week was really unusual. It really is very rare for the inspector general of the Defense Department to rescind and […]

May
01
2009

Pentagon Pundits Still Thriving at MSNBC

During coverage of the Obama administration's 100-day mark, MSNBC had war reporter Richard Engel and anchor Tamron Hall interview MSNBC analyst Barry McCaffrey, who CJR.org's Clint Hendler (4/29/09) calls "the retired army general whose many conflicts of interest have been analyzed by David Barstow's now-Pulitzer Prize winning reporting for the New York Times." When asked by Engel about attempts to "draw away the Taliban's source of funding by cutting down the opium crop or burning it or whatever," McCaffrey was emphatic: "I think we've got to take it on. But, you know, the lead agent can't be U.S. combat troops. […]

Jan
20
2009

Pentagon Clears Pentagon

The Pentagon inspector general's report on the Pentagon Pundits scandal was released (to no one's surprise) late on Friday. Also unsurprising were its contents–the report basically concluded that there was no serious wrongdoing, not to mention no clear idea of what constitutes "propaganda" in the first place. The report was summarized in the New York Times (1/17/09) by David Barstow, the reporter who broke the story that led to the Pentagon whitewash. Barstow seems unimpressed with the Pentagon's work, noting that investigators couldn't manage to interview some key Pentagon staffers, couldn't find evidence that any of the pundits used their […]