Pentagon Propaganda Pushback: As Congress Takes Action, How Will The President and The Media Respond?

For Immediate Release

Media Matters for America
Contact: 

J. Jioni Palmer
National Press Secretary 
(202) 756-4116 (office) (202) 580-5814 (cell)

Pentagon Propaganda Pushback: As Congress Takes Action, How Will The President and The Media Respond?

WASHINGTON - Media Matters for America today applauds
the inclusion of language in the 2009 Defense Authorization Bill responding to
criticism of the clandestine relationship among media military analysts, the
Pentagon, and the defense industries.
The bill was sent on Monday to President Bush, who has not yet taken
action.

The legislative language --
sponsored by Rep. Paul Hodes (NH-02) and supported by Reps. Rosa DeLauro
(CT-03) and Peter DeFazio (OR-04) and Sens. Frank Lautenberg (NJ), Robert
Menendez (NJ), Hillary Clinton (NY), Byron Dorgan (ND), and John Kerry (MA) --
was prompted by an April report in The
New York Times
. A subsequent
analysis by Media Matters
documented more than 4,500 appearances of military analysts in the media, many
of whom worked for or had clients with companies that have an interest in
obtaining Pentagon contracts.

The bill includes the
following provisions:

  • Prohibits
    taxpayer money from being used for "publicity or propaganda
    purposes" by the Department of Defense.
  • Requires
    the Department of Defense Inspector General to investigate the media
    analysts program and report the findings back to Congress 90 days after
    the bill is enacted.
  • Directs
    the Comptroller General of the GAO to issue a legal opinion to Congress on
    whether the media analysts program violated the law within 120 days of
    enactment.

Since the report was
released in April, there has been little if any response from the major
broadcast and cable news networks whose analysts were implicated in the
reports.

This week, news reports
stated that the Federal Communications
Commission is notifying several media military analysts that it has begun an
inquiry into complaints that the pundits did not properly disclose their ties
to the Pentagon while on air.

"By letting these
spin merchants -- many of whom have ties to military contractors vested in the
very war policies they are asked to assess on air -- act as if they're
unfettered to any agenda, the networks have demonstrated a clear lapse in
credibility," said Media Matters
National Press Secretary J. Jioni
Palmer. "What little we know about
the military analyst programs has raised serious questions, and further
scrutiny is certainly needed."

 

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