As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Friday, May 09, 2008

"You are the leader."

The deafening silence from the corporate-owned media on their employment of official propaganda sources inside their news broadcasts is typical, but at least one leak has sprung. The Pentagon released all of their documents that the New York Times obtained in FOIA requests to fill in their reporting. And there are more hidden gems inside that set of documents.

But most immediately intriguing is audio of some of the briefings at the Pentagon, including two featuring Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

The audio we've excerpted here comes from a meeting on April 18, 2006. It was an emergency meeting called because earlier in the month, several retired generals had hit the airwaves demanding that Rumsfeld resign. 17 analysts attended the briefing, which featured Rumsfeld and then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Peter Pace. It was a remarkable display of servility, with one analyst at one point proclaiming that Rumsfeld need to get out there on the "offense," because "we'd love to be following our leader, as indeed you are. You are the leader. You are our guy."

The audio is worse than the summary makes it out to be:

This all worked out, by the way. The analysts who were in the room all trudged right out to their news stations and repeated Rumsfeld's talking points, basically mainlining the view from inside the Pentagon right through to everyone's TV set. The charitable word for this is propaganda. It is indeed illegal. And the fact that the news outlets won't utter a peep about it means they know they have to keep their head down in the face of this.

On Tuesday, Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and John Dingell (D-Mich.) sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin J. Martin “urging an investigation of the Pentagon’s propaganda program” to determine if the networks or analysts violated federal law.

FCC Commissioner Michael J. Copps, a Democrat, applauded their efforts. “President Eisenhower warned against the excesses of a military-industrial complex,” Copps said in a statement. “I’d like to think that hasn’t morphed into a military-industrial-media complex, but reports of spinning the news through a program of favored insiders don’t inspire a lot of confidence.”

DeLauro said by phone that the Pentagon’s program was “created in order to give military analysts access in exchange for positive coverage of the Iraq war.”

The reckoning of this Administration, and its servile media, is coming too late for my money.

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