Monday, April 21, 2008

Cute Little Consumers

Well if you made it through all the Pope coverage over the weekend you may have landed upon a front page spread of The Sunday Times where they exposed the linkage between FOX News US Military "analysts" and their linkage to The Pentagon.
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.

The effort, which began with the buildup to the Iraq war and continues to this day, has sought to exploit ideological and military allegiances, and also a powerful financial dynamic: Most of the analysts have ties to military contractors vested in the very war policies they are asked to assess on air.

Those business relationships are hardly ever disclosed to the viewers, and sometimes not even to the networks themselves. But collectively, the men on the plane and several dozen other military analysts represent more than 150 military contractors either as lobbyists, senior executives, board members or consultants.

The companies include defense heavyweights, but also scores of smaller companies, all part of a vast assemblage of contractors scrambling for hundreds of billions in military business generated by the administration’s war on terror. It is a furious competition, one in which inside information and easy access to senior officials are highly prized.
Not that I am really surprised this is happening and even moreso by Fox News but I can't help but feel this is exactly what they had up their sleeves the whole time. Duh.

The Pentagon as well as the 24/7 News Networks view the American public as nothing but a bunch of cute little consumers whom they keep happily and ignorantly satisfied and distracted by telling us about their "honest and trustworthy" reporting. But we've been duped and duped the whole time. Yet our distraction has become too common and we've grown apathetic if not entirely accustomed to these lies and behavior. Shrug on America, shrug on.

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