New York Times reporter Melody Petersen, who covered the pharmaceutical industry for four years, has now published a book titled Our Daily Meds: How the pharmaceutical companies transformed themselves into slick marketing machines and hooked the nation on prescription drugs.
AdAge reports that Fenton Communications and its client MoveOn.org have announced a politically liberal advertising consortium using corporate advertising executives and firms to "help change the playing field this year. ... At the moment it will go after presumptive Republican nominee Senator John McCain. ...
Eight thousand pages of documents related to the Pentagon's illegal propaganda campaign, known as the Pentagon military analyst program, are now online for the world to see, although in a format that makes it impossible to easily search them and therefore difficult to read and dissect. This trove includes the documents pried out of the Pentagon by David Barstow and used as the basis for his stunning investigation that appeared in the New York Times on April 20, 2008.
Greg Mitchell of Editor and Publisher notes that New York Times military reporter Michael Gordon, "who contributed several false stories about Iraqi WMD in the run-up to the U.S. attack in Iraq," has been writing about Iran's alleged involvement in attacks against U.S. service members in Iraq. Gordon's latest article, "Hezbollah Trains Iraqis in Iran, Officials Say," is "based solely on unnamed sources," notes Mitchell.
An article from McClatchy's Baghdad bureau also contradicts Gordon's New York Times piece. McClatchy reports that the Iraqi government "seemed to distance itself from U.S. accusations towards Iran." Iraqi government spokesperson Ali al-Dabbagh said the government had formed a committee to find "tangible information" about Iranian activities in Iraq, instead of relying on "information based on speculation." Al-Dabbagh also told Agence France-Press that there is no "hard evidence" of Iranian support of insurgents in Iraq.
Retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Sam Gardiner has seen this sort of poorly-sourced reporting before in the New York Times as part of the propaganda campaign that led America directly into the disastrous quagmire in Iraq.
The Pentagon launched its covert media analyst program in 2002, to sell the Iraq war. Later, it was used to sell an image of progress in Afghanistan, whitewash the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, and defend the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping, as David Barstow reported in his New York Times expose.
But the pundits weren't just selling government talking points. As Robert Bevelacqua, William Cowan and Carlton Sherwood enjoyed high-level Pentagon access through the analyst program, their WVC3 Group sought "contracts worth tens of millions to supply body armor and counterintelligence services in Iraq," reported Barstow. Cowan admitted to "push[ing] hard" on a WVC3 contract, during a Pentagon-funded trip to Iraq.
Then there's Pentagon pundit Robert H. Scales Jr. The military firm he co-founded in 2003, Colgen, has an interesting range of clients, from the Central Intelligence Agency and U.S. Special Operations Command, to Pfizer and Syracuse University, to Fox News and National Public Radio.
Of the 27 Pentagon pundits named publicly to date, six are registered as federal lobbyists. That's in addition to the less formal -- and less transparent -- boardroom to war-room influence peddling described above. (There are "more than 75 retired officers" who took part in the Pentagon program overall, according to Barstow.)
The Pentagon pundits' lobbying disclosure forms help chart what can only be called a military-industrial-media complex. They also make clear that war is very good for at least some kinds of business.
As part of its plan to expand online "information operations," the Pentagon is launching "a global network of foreign-language news websites ... and hiring local journalists to write current events stories and other content that promote U.S. interests," reports Peter Eisler. The Pentagon launched Matawani.com last year, an Arabic-language site with Iraq news; other sites are being developed for Asian and Latin American audiences.
Almost two weeks after the New York Times reported on the Penatgon's military analyst program to sell controversial policies such as the invasion of Iraq, the broadcast television news outlets implicated in the program are hoping to tough out the scandal by refusing to report it.