How the Pentagon Media Machine Operated

New documents shed light on the Pentagon's war propaganda machine.

It’s been nearly a month since the New York Times first reported on a Pentagon program in which retired military officers, who’ve since become lobbyists or consultants for military contractors, were recruited to become propaganda agents of the Bush administration. Throughout the war in Iraq, these retired officers — or “message multipliers,” as they were described by internal Defense Department documents — took on roles as military analysts for all of the major news networks, without noting their puppet-like relationships with the Pentagon.

Despite the media’s reluctance to even acknowledge the controversy’s existence, a Pentagon document dump has led to some revelations that make the controversy look even worse.

Faiz reported this gem earlier today:

In a Feb. 16, 2006 email exchange, Pentagon media staffers discussed coordinating with the Heritage Foundation to identify someone to speak about detainee treatment at Gitmo. An anonymous employee suggested retired Army Sergeant Major Steve Short because “he seems to be on message and very articulate.”

Pentagon public affairs official Allison Barber responded by warning that the DoD could not officially “endorse” one particular speaker over another. “Important to remember that heritage can invite anyone to present and that we don’t really have an opinion on anyone,” Barber wrote.

The anonymous author then suggested he or she might lie and pretend not to have ever heard of Short: “gasp. are you telling me to tell a lie???? surely not! ;)”
Hilarious. The “wink” emoticon certainly makes it seem as if intentional deception was not an uncommon occurrence.
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