No Shame at NBC

The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) has issued a statement strongly criticizing the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) for its continued use of retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey as an on-air military analyst, while failing to disclose McCaffrey's multiple conflicts of interest that were recently detailed in the New York Times. "When the retired general offers his insight on the air for NBC, CNBC and MSNBC, viewers are left with the impression he is an 'objective' observer, a former military man speaking from the depths of his experience," it states. "What the networks have failed to tell viewers is that McCaffrey has a financial interest in the war." According to Andy Schotz, the chairman of SPJ's Ethics Committee, "these networks -- which are owned by General Electric, a leading defense contractor -- are giving the public powerful reasons to be skeptical about their neutrality and credibility. ... These are raging conflicts of interest embedded into reporting on crucial news." Writing for the Columbia Journalism Review, Charles Kaiser asks if there is "any limit to the shamelessness of NBC News," which "has never once disclosed any of McCaffrey's multiple conflicts of interest on the air. ... McCaffrey is the living embodiment of all the worst aspects of entrenched Washington corruption -- a man who shares with scores of other retired officers a huge financial interest in having America conduct its wars for as long as possible."


As a loyal and long-time viewer and enthusiastic supporter of MSNBC, I would point out that I have not seen or heard Barry McCaffery on MSNBC since some time in 2007 and not at all this year. I certainly agree with your post's excoriation of McCaffery, who seems cheerfully to play all sides of any story relating to the Pentagon and administration defense policy.

The only "general" (a bird colonel actually) on MSNBC consistently is Jack Jacobs, a Medal of Honor recipient and former lecturer at the Defense Department's War College, the primary training ground for general officers. Jacobs's viewpoint is always considered and fair; he is no Pentagon mouthpiece, or at least I've never felt he was.

My own opinions as a retired reserve officer of the US Air Force are colored by my completely liberal political position.

Charles Neighbors

War is a biz and there's nothing new when I say this, what keeps my amazed is how easy we people defer any ethical dilema and just move forward with this killing people business without even blinking, there's where evil is in these days.

At least someone is watching at reality and trying to push it to let everybody know, even when is in a small piece of info like this one.