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How the Pentagon uses 'pseudo experts' to distort the news

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Tagged: / Posted: 20 April 2008

Here's a link to a very interesting and revealing investigation by the New York Times which uncovers the way in which the US media have been using supposedly independent military experts to analyse news stories a) generally without disclosing that these experts work for military contractors who have a commercial interest in the activities they are covering, and b) apparently without realising that these experts have been briefed and substantially misled by the Pentagon. As the New York Times puts it: "A Pentagon information apparatus... has used those analysts in a campaign to generate favorable news coverage of the administration’s wartime performance... 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'."

If you've read the book, you'll know this reflects a widespread use of pseudo-experts by the PR industry to inject its angles into news coverage. It also dovetails with the book's coverage of the new propaganda machinery created by military and intelligence agencies since the terrorist attacks of September 2001, a development which remains generally ignored by the media which it exploits. Some of the detail in this New York Times story provides stunning examples of the sophistication with which outsiders now approach the business of manipulating news media - and the worrying success which they enjoy. See http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/20/washington/20generals.html?_r=2&sq=mil...

Internal Pentagon documents on the military pseduo-experts

Added: 13 August 2008

The excellent Sourcewatch website has obtained and organised a mass of internal Pentagon paperwork on this campaign of news manipulation, now available through this link:

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Pentagon_military_analyst_program:_Documents 

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