Americans owe House Democrats John Dingell (M) and Rosa DeLauro (C) a debt of gratitude for doing what the mainstream media has failed to do: follow-up on the New York Times blockbuster about the Pentagon’s now-suspended program to “brief” former military men who now serve as “expert” commentators on CNN, Fox, CBS, MSNBC and the rest of them.
While the MSM hopes the story about it “shilling” for the Pentagon — or as CNN’s Donald Shepperd so aptly put it when he finished a DOD junket to Guantanamo, “drinking the government’s Kool-Aid” -- the dynamic Congressional duo wants a Federal Communications Commission probe into the Pentagon’s propaganda program.
In a letter to FCC chairman Kevin Martin (pictured at right), the Democrats express deep concern with the DOD prepping ex-military officers to support the Administration’s war in Iraq and operation of Gitmo so they can relay that position “under the guise of objective analysts on major TV news programs and 24-hour cable news networks.”
The Democrats note that many of the 75 retired military analysts represent more than 150 defense contractors which compete for billions of dollars in Pentagon contracts. While Dingell and DeLauro believe DOD’s policy is “unethical and perhaps illegal,” they question “whether the analysts and the networks are potentially equally culpable pursuant to the sponsorship requirements of the Communications Act of 1934.”
Since DOD paid for the commercial airfare of its commentators to Iraq, Dingell and DeLauro want Martin to determine if there was a violation of Section 507, which “prohibits those involved with preparing program matter intended for broadcast from accepting valuable consideration for including particular matter in a program without disclosure.”
Dingell and DeLauro speak for all when they say a gross violation of the public trust occurs when “seemingly objective TV commentators are in fact highly motivated to promote the agenda of a government agency.” The American people should “never be subject to a covert propaganda campaign but rather should be clearly notified of who is sponsoring what we are watching.”
How can Martin resist the call of these two information warriors who are rightly incensed about the media kowtowing before an Administration responsible for one of the biggest blunders in this nation’s history?