The Washington Post provides more information on the previously reported $300 million paid to private firms to propagandize Iraq over the next three years. The contractors will "produce news stories, entertainment programs and public service advertisements for the Iraqi media in an effort to 'engage and inspire' the local population to support U.S. objectives and the Iraqi government. ...
"The Federal Communications Commission has begun notifying several TV military analysts that it is probing congressional complaints that the pundits did not properly disclose their ties to the Pentagon when reviewing the war in Iraq on air," reports Paul Bedard.
Prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Bush administration officials exaggerated what U.S. intelligence agencies were reporting about Iraqi weapons, according to Congressional investigations. But even before that exaggeration, the intelligence reports had been skewed by an administration eager for war, according to recently declassified documents.
"Jed Babbin, one of our military analysts, is hosting the Michael Medved nationally syndicated radio show this afternoon. He would like to see if General [George W.] Casey would be available for a phone interview," the Pentagon staffer wrote. "This would be a softball interview and the show is 8th or 9th in the nation."
Why would the Pentagon help set up a radio interview? And how did they know that the interview would be "softball"?
From early 2002 to April 2008, the Defense Department offered talking points, organized trips to places such as Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, and gave private briefings to a legion of retired military officers working as media pundits. The Pentagon's military analyst program, a covert effort to promote a positive image of the Bush administration's wartime performance, was a multi-level campaign involving quite a few colorful characters.
Flipping through the over 8,000 pages of documents released in connection with the program, one Pentagon pundit arguably steals the spotlight: Jed Babbin.
In a scathing review of the Chinese government's handling of the Olympics, Jacquelin Magnay writes "there has been the fake singer, the fake fireworks, the fake minority kids (they were all Han, and not from the 55 different ethnic groups as portrayed), the fake press freedoms, fake internet access, fake promises. ...