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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

In the company of whores

What do Eliot Spitzer, Wolf Blitzer, George Stephanopoulos, Tim Russert and Brit Hume have in common?

Well actually not a lot. Spitzer knew what he was getting in his business dealings with Ashley Alexandra Dupre. Our clueless commentators were out to sea.

The biggest whores identified in the New York Times' massive look at the Bush administration's manipulation of public opinion are the former military men who traded their reputation for access and business contacts.

The network executives come across as clueless bozos, falling for yet another tactic selling a war that was premised on lies and misinformation.

And as usual, taxpayers are left holding the bag -- and the price tag for the propaganda machine that passes itself off as a government.

It was hard to read the Times' story. Many times I slammed the paper down and started yelling (another reason to favor dead trees over computers -- the damage is far less than putting your fist into a monitor).

No one -- from Pentagon brass to network employee comes out of this one looking good. But special contempt should be heaped on a few individuals (and funny, most of them drew paychecks from Fox).
  • Paul E. Vallely, a retired Army general who wrote a paper on "psy-ops" in the '80s, then practiced it advocating and implementing a "new approach to psychological operations in future wars — taking aim at not just foreign adversaries but domestic audiences, too. He called his approach “MindWar” — using network TV and radio to “strengthen our national will to victory.” He told supposedly liberal Fox yak show host Alan Colmes that "you can't believe the progress" even when he came away with a different opinion after an taxpayer-supported trip to Iraq in 2003;
  • Charles T. Nash, a Fox military analyst and retired Navy captain, and a consultant who helps small companies break into the military market. "Suddenly, he had entree to a host of senior military leaders, many of whom he had never met. It was, he said, like being embedded with the Pentagon leadership. 'You start to recognize what’s most important to them,' he said, adding, 'There’s nothing like seeing stuff firsthand.'”
  • John C. Garrett is a retired Army colonel and unpaid analyst for Fox News TV and radio. He is also a lobbyist at Patton Boggs who helps firms win Pentagon contracts, including in Iraq. In promotional materials, he states that as a military analyst he “is privy to weekly access and briefings with the secretary of defense, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other high level policy makers in the administration.” One client told investors that Mr. Garrett’s special access and decades of experience helped him “to know in advance — and in detail — how best to meet the needs” of the Defense Department and other agencies.
At least Garrett only took cash from Patton Boggs and not Fox.

The Sgt. Schultz denials from network spokespeople is not much better. These alleged news operations were already under heavy Pentagon fire to deliver the story in the way the Bush administration wanted it. Some, like the Times' Judith Miller, obliged. Obviously so too did the brass at the television "news" operations.

Anyone purporting to be real journalists would have vetted their paid military experts. It's not as if it would have been tough -- they represented companies with web sites.

Last and certainly not least are the Pentagon's Goebbels Bridge -- Torie Clarke, Larry DiRita and their minions -- who subverted the the concept of a free press with imposters who succeeded all too well in infiltrating the "enemy" positions and spreading the lies that have cost us more than 4,000 lives and billions upon billions of dollars.

Your federal tax dollars at work. And one more stain upon the Constitution in the name of George W. Bush.

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