Bullet Wisdom

I am an Active Duty Officer in the US Army. I am a Husband, father, writer, hunter, gamer, and SOLDIER. This blog is a forum for my many hobbies as well as my random musings.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

NY Times: U.S. Military Grooms Analysts. So What?

This weekend MSNBC cited a NY Times article reported the Pentagon groomed paid TV military analysts as a means to "shape terrorism coverage from inside the major TV and radio networks." Paid TV analysts were former senior officers who received private briefings, trips and access to classified intelligence meant to influence their comments. Says the NY Times:

"Records and interviews show how the Bush administration has used its controlover access and information in an effort to transform the analysts into a kind of media Trojan horse"

OK, I have to inteject an opinion here. Who cares!!?? Seriously folks, are we so naive to believe that the 'expert' analysts employed by Hannity & Colmes or Anderson Cooper do not receive their talking points from their respective political parties? Is it any coincidence that a political analysts' discussion points almost match point for point with their parties' spin of the day?

If you have ever been on the end of an operations line taking a report from the field, if it's one thing you understand that the first report is always wrong. Given the nature of compartmentalized classified information what it is, it's easy to assume that analysts are wrong on military operations, a lot. Remember the Jessica Lynch rescue?

The national media and public demand a lot from their military. They want updates from the field fast and true. Since employees from the military cannot go on air to offer live analysis (that would be propaganda), experts must be used in their stead. If the expert is unaware of the situation because of lack of access, then their analysis will be wrong.

On the note of reporting favorably towards the administration. Why wouldn't we? If what is told is the truth, then there shouldn't be any issue. If you could show me an incident where an analyst put forward information that was favorable to the military/administration and untrue, I think there would be a huge problem. Do no think for a second the democrat or republican subject matter experts you watch would be around long if they berated their parties respective candidates.

As per the conflicts of interests regarding military contracts: you're hiring retired general officers. What did you expect? Everyone of these guys gets embedded with one military industrial contractor or another after retirement. I think you would be hard challenged to find a well-connected retired flag officer without ties to any military contractors. It's the nature of the beast. These individuals still remain the best source of truth when representing the military.

Bottom line: It's in the best interest of the military and the U.S. public to continue to use 'groomed' analysts.

After all, everyone else is doing it. Why can't we?


Anonymous said...

Amen! We've been losing the media war for so long and it's about time we're "planting" our stories in the media for all to see. The terrorists have been using our media to their advantage for years. Bring on more "military analysts"!!

COL Hunt is the bomb-diggity - just had to say that!!

Isaac said...

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Anonymous said...

I agree with what your saying on retired military as analysts. But what about the contra-military folks, like General Sanchez? He's spoke on CNN a few times and everthing he said was opposite from the truth, in my opinion (he talked about military stategy in Iraq). It almost seemed a shameful and dishonored the 3000+ troops that gave the final sacrafice.

Ken said...

I think it is obvious that not all general officers agree with the current policies in the War on Terror. They, especially the retired ones, are entitle to their opinion whether we necessarily agree with it or not.