Message Machine: Behind Analysts, the Pentagon’s Hidden Hand
by David Barstow
New York Times
April 20, 2008
In the summer of 2005, the Bush administration confronted a fresh wave of criticism over Guantánamo Bay. The detention center had just been branded “the gulag of our times” by Amnesty International, there were new allegations of abuse from United Nations human rights experts and calls were mounting for its closure.
The administration’s communications experts responded swiftly. Early one Friday morning, they put a group of retired military officers on one of the jets normally used by Vice President Dick Cheney and flew them to Cuba for a carefully orchestrated tour of Guantánamo.
To the public, these men are members of a familiar fraternity, presented tens of thousands of times on television and radio as “military analysts” whose long service has equipped them to give authoritative and unfettered judgments about the most pressing issues of the post-Sept. 11 world.
Hidden behind that appearance of objectivity, though, is a Pentagon information apparatus that has used those analysts in a campaign to generate favorable news coverage of the administration’s wartime performance, an examination by The New York Times has found.
Read the rest of the article here. It’s long but fascinating.
And, check out this New York Times multi-media report, How the Pentagon Spread Its Message also by David Barstow, April 20, 2008.
Barstow, an investigative reporter for The Times, examines primary source documents detailing the Pentagon’s response to criticism of then-Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld by a group of prominent retired generals.