Feingold to GAO: Was Pentagon Propaganda Program Legal?

Today, Senator Russ Feingold sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office to ask the crucial question - did the Pentagon's secret propaganda program break the law?

From Feingold's letter:

According to the article, the documents suggest that the Pentagon supplied retired officers serving as analysts for several major American broadcasters with private briefings with Sec. Rumsfeld, talking points in anticipation of appearing on TV, and commercial airfare.  Allegedly, the Pentagon discouraged the analysts from publicly describing the nature of their relationship with the Pentagon.  This clearly violates the spirit, if not the letter, of the law.

Feingold wants the GAO's "legal views as to whether the Department of Defense violated appropriations prohibitions on publicity or propaganda activities."

Full letter here.

But the Pentagon's role is only half the problem. The same traditional media outlets that used the analysts without any disclosure have said nearly nothing about their own responsibility. Since the New York Times story uncovered the (now suspended) nefarious program that used military analysts who had financial interest in Pentagon policies to "generate favorable news coverage of the administration's wartime performance," the traditional media is either ducking responsibility or just avoiding any mention of the program at all.

Potentially illegal government war propaganda? Yes.

Media watchdog and war critic Arianna Huffington? Not so much.

Will any media outlet cover the potential illegality of the program?

Update [2008-5-1 19:11:6 by Josh Orton]: Yes, PBS ran the story several days after the NYT story broke. But does anyone think a network will touch it?

Tags: Russ Feingold (all tags)

Comments

12 Comments

Re: Feingold to GAO: Was Pentagon Propaganda Progr

Is it any wonder that the corporate networks prefer bloviating about Wright than even mentioning this?

by ClintonBushDynasty 2008-05-01 03:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Feingold to GAO: Was Pentagon Propaganda Progr

You'll here this on Sirius left, PBS, may be a bit on NPR, but that pretty much covers it. As far as MSM, Olberman is a candidate to cover it, but not much.

Of course I'd like to see a candidate bring this issue front and center.. but, how stupid can I really be?

by lizardbox 2008-05-01 03:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Feingold to GAO:

Glenn Greenwald has done his usual good job on this story, and on Brian Williams' defense of it, and NBC's documented collusion:

Williams argues that the two retired Generals whom he identified in particular -- Downing and McCaffrey -- voiced "harsh criticism of the Rumsfeld Pentagon and the war effort." As proof, he cites a McCaffrey quote from 2006 -- more then 3 years after we invaded Iraq -- in which McCaffrey said there was a civil war there and that "it's a very bad situation, and it's getting worse." He also said Downing was angry that we didn't use more troops for the invasion.

That is the sum and substance of Williams' response to allegations that these analysts were presented as "independent" despite having multiple political and financial ties which negated their independence. There is no indication that he has any plans to tell his viewers about the story. And he seems to think that this smug, dismissive response resolves the questions surrounding the behavior of NBC News. It doesn't. If fact, Williams' response -- and his citation to these two specific retired Generals -- raises far more questions than it answers.

http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/#

by skohayes 2008-05-01 03:39PM | 0 recs
All that could have been...

if only this man could have been our nominee...

by JDF 2008-05-01 03:57PM | 0 recs
Hillary Clinton called for an investigation also

Hillary Clinton and Senator Frank Lautenberg called for an investigation last week.

http://clinton.senate.gov/news/statement s/details.cfm?id=296862&&

by polson 2008-05-01 04:39PM | 0 recs
Re: All that could have been...

Remember these?

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

We were well on our way to getting blogs in all 50 states. And RunRussRun.com (now gone) had essentially all the same tools as Barack Obama's website, but it was built by the grassroots.

It wasn't going to be easy, but it was going to happen. There was so much energy for him. It still kind of stings.

Oh well. Anyone want to start printing "Feingold for President 2016" bumper stickers?

by Fitzy 2008-05-01 04:51PM | 0 recs
Re: All that could have been...

Wow, seeing those old blog ads sure brings back memories! The grassroots energy in the Draft Feingold movement was pretty amazing, and being involved with it is one of things in my life that I am most proud of. If only it had ended much later and in a much better way...

Well, we've gotta win this election candidates we have, but I'll see you in 2016 with those bumper stickers!

by Paul Simon Democrat 2008-05-01 06:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Feingold to GAO: Was Pentagon Propaganda Progr

How doe the networks get away wityh ignoring this?

Just look at the previous diaries about more vacuous and ever shifting polls. They have 100+ comments each and this one has 3.

Obsessions about nothing while ugly reality goes ignored. The networks sometimes follow the people astray rather than lead them.

by Kobi 2008-05-01 03:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Feingold to GAO: Was Pentagon Propaganda Progr

I'm always amazed by the brazenness of this administration.  They'll just come up with this batshit crazy stuff and pretend its true and then when it's revealed to be crazy nonsense, they just pretend they didn't say it, didn't send people to say it, or blame someone else for giving them the wrong administration.

Any moment now, I expect to hear something about how this wasn't propaganda because they weren't lying to American citizens but just American journalists.

by juliewolf 2008-05-01 04:02PM | 0 recs
Don't ever buy a used War from a retired general

by Lefty Coaster 2008-05-01 04:27PM | 0 recs
Tax dollars used to lie to military

Our tax dollars were spent teaching recruits in the US military that Iraq was responsible for 9/11.  I saw several documentaries in which the youngsters were all gung ho for going to Iraq and get the people who attacked us on 9/11.

Now, they KNEW that was not the case!  And they used monies from taxpayers to tell those lies!  It has always been a very sore spot!

by Southern Mouth 2008-05-01 04:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Feingold to GAO: Was Pentagon Propaganda Progr

I can see someone of our feisty democratic senators writing a very nasty letter.  One that will be ignored, just like all the others were. Yawn.

by muggle 2008-05-01 11:39PM | 0 recs

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