The Pentagon has temporarily stopped feeding information to pundits who generate ‘favorable’ war coverage for the Bush administration. According to The New York Times, the Defense Department had been giving information to retired military officers serving as pundits for various media organizations in a bid to garner favorable media coverage of the White House wartime performance.
“Analysts have been wooed in hundreds of private briefings with senior military leaders, including officials with significant influence over contracting and budget matters, records show,” the Times article read.
In return, they echoed President Bush’s talking points, ‘sometimes even when they suspected the information was false or inflated’.
“Following the allegations, the story that is printed in the New York Times, I directed my staff to halt, to suspend the activities that may be ongoing with retired military analysts to give me time to review the situation,” said Principal deputy assistant secretary of Defense for public affairs Robert Hastings in an interview with Stripes.
While mainstream US media has chosen to ignore the newfound information, the revelation has caused widespread anger among some high ranking US officials
“There is nothing inherently wrong with providing information to the public and the press,” Democratic US congressional representative Ike Skelton said.
“But there is a problem if the Pentagon is providing special access to retired officers and then basically using them as pawns to spout the administration’s talking points of the day,” continued the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.