James Risen: Pentagon propogandist

The NYT's James Risen has got his panties in a wad over the criticism that his NYTimes piece was nothing but a propoganda pos fed to him by Pentagon sources:

Risen didn't take kindly to the blogospheric criticism. "Bloggers should do their own reporting instead of sitting around in their pajamas," Risen said.

Risen wrote the story to be covered-- for its shock value and for its suppossed revalation of untold riches in Afghanistan. It also, and this is the important part, the type of propoganda that is being used to prolong the US stay in the region, where military corporations are reaping profits in the billions. The story is marketed as "good news" that Afghanistan is on the path to a better place, when its really just a good marketing effort told by the Pentagon, through Risen here, to prolong the war.

Its the untold reason why the Pentagon sourced quotes and background information to Risen in the first place. He's not a foolish reporter that didn't understand the role he plays. So, he shouldn't be shocked when he finds out that bloggers point out his role, and that the deception he's provided.

"The thing that amazes me is that the blogosphere thinks they can deconstruct other people's stories," Risen told Yahoo! News during an increasingly hostile interview, which he called back to apologize for almost immediately after it ended. "Do you even know anything about me? Maybe you were still in school when I broke the NSA story, I don't know. It was back when you were in kindergarten, I think."

Does Risen envision a Pulitzer here, for playing a lead role in a cage?

Risen said he heard about the Pentagon's efforts from Milt Bearden, a retired CIA officer who was active in Afghanistan in the 1980s. The men co-authored a book, "The Main Enemy," in 2003, and Bearden is now a consultant working with Brinkley's survey team.

"Several months ago, Milt started telling me about what they were finding," Risen said. "At the beginning of the year, I said I wanted to do a story on it." At first both Bearden and Brinkley resisted, Risen said, but he eventually wore them down. "Milt convinced Brinkley to talk to me," he said, "and Brinkley convinced other Pentagon officials to go on the record. I think Milt realized that things were going so badly in Afghanistan that people would be willing to talk about this." In other words, according to Risen, he wasn't handed the story in a calculated leak. Calls and emails to Brinkley and to Eric Clark, a Pentagon public relations contractor who works with him, were not immediately returned.

Does Risen just not realize the conversation that went down between Bearden, Brinkley and the Pentagon officials?  Why does he imagine that Brinkley was able to convince the Pentagon?

If Risen had started his story with, "Things were going so badly in Afghanistan that Pentagon officials have went on the record with me to tell a story of untold riches that lay under the ground in Afghanitstan..." then Risen might have a point about staying up late pondering the criticism as unfounded.

Tags: James Risen (all tags)


1 Comment

speaking of which

last night's Daily Show segment on commentators' reaction to the "untold riches" in Afghanistan is a must-see.

by desmoinesdem 2010-06-16 11:07AM | 0 recs


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