National Commentary

Congressman Moran’s News Commentary

A report released this week by the non-profit research organization Media Matters found that military analysts secretly cultivated by the Pentagon’s communications apparatus appeared a whopping 4,500 plus times on major TV and radio networks since 2002 on segments covering the Iraq war, Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib and other foreign policy and national security issues.

The New York Times exposed this extensive, coordinated campaign by the Pentagon and the Bush administration to influence commentary of what viewers rightfully believed were independent television military analysts. No network was safe. While FOX News carried the most tainted coverage, all the major networks ABC, CBS and NBC were party to the distortion.

It’s an unethical and possibly illegal propaganda machine – a media Trojan horse designed to shape war coverage from inside the major radio and TV networks. It was also apparent that the motivation on the part of many analysts was the extraordinary access they were granted to the Pentagon for their defense contractor firms and employers. Some analysts that failed to tow the line indicated there were business consequences for bucking the Pentagon’s message–a powerful incentive to stay on the administration-approved talking points.
One particularly disturbing example is when troops in Iraq were dying because of inadequate body armor, a senior Pentagon official wrote to his colleagues, and I quote, “I think our analysts can push back in that arena the analyst was a retired military officer.” Instead of rushing to determine the scope of the problem and how to get more body armor to our troops, the Pentagon’s initial reaction was to hit back at the media.

Unfortunately, no amount of spin can cover up the fact that despite our heroic soldiers’ efforts, the Iraqi government continues failing to assume control of their country, relying instead on the U.S. to do all the heavy-lifting. We’re over five years into a war whose end is as unclear as it was on the day it began. Over 4,000 American soldiers have given their lives and $500 billion expended. While the administration’s spin is further exposed every day that passes, the price our country pays only grows.