Journalists Bought and Paid for With Your Tax Dollars

There is an excellent but ultimately very disturbing article in this morning’s New York Times which deserves a look. It demonstrates two things; it shows that the Bush Administration has been actively propagandizing to its very own people, which is disturbing enough. But it also demonstrates the extent to which the press, which is supposed to be our advocate to the government, actively pushes the Bush propaganda line. Here are a few excerpts;

Behind Analysts, the Pentagon’s Hidden Hand – New York Times.

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.

If the mainstream press wants to know why it’s losing money and having to lay people off this is it. The reason people go to blogs for their information is because traditional journalism has let them down. Can you say "unethical"? There is nothing ethical in the above practice, journalistically speaking.

George Stephanopoulos and Charles Gibson are but a tip of the iceberg, folks, as are their main apologists, including the hack, David Brooks. This is a systemic problem, whereby the entire journalistic profession has completely forgotten what their purpose is. Their purpose is to keep public officials honest, by watching what they do.

Let me engage you in a little Journalism 101. First off, actual journalism should be hard. A good, investigative piece of journalism can take months, or even years, to complete. It requires a lot of very arduous research, and often, the information can be difficult to impossible to come by.  But that’s your job. If you want to just repeat whatever bullshit the president’s people dictate to you, then go work in his press office.

The fact that journalists today value "inside information and easy access to senior officials" demonstrates the biggest problem with journalism today; reporters are lazy and slothful, by and large. They all want to be millionaire anchors; they don’t give a rat’s ass about journalistic integrity, and the thrill of working their asses off to get the "good story." It shouldn’t come as a shock that many of the best journalists in this country have foreign accents. Christiane Amanpour, for example. And has anyone done a better job of reporting on Iraq than Australian reporter Michael Ware?

Here’s a clue, reporters; "easy access to senior officials" is usually a sign that you’re NOT doing your job. If someone inside the Bush Administration is offering you "easy access" to any information, you should assume that the information is bullshit. Actually, if anyone in government from either side of the aisle offers you information without you having to dig for it, you should treat it as if it was a piece of moldy cheese, and be very  suspicious of it.

And why doesn’t it piss off more people that they are using our tax dollars to feed us this crap? (Okay, in the interest of accuracy, they’re using your grandchild’s tax money, but still…) We are being soaked for the whole enchilada, folks; they’re making us pay for the war, they’re making us line the pockets of Bush cronies who are profiteering on the overpriced contracts in Iraq, and they’re even making us pay for the lies that are designed to hide the facts that they screwed up an occupation, and that they’re stealing from us.

I don’t understand why people aren’t more pissed off at this stuff.


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