“I Felt We’d Been Hosed:” When Pentagon Propagandists Lie to Their Own Supporters

I hate the term “must read.” Who decides what the “musts” are? And whose interests are served when something must be read?

Forget all that. This is a must read.

Today’s New York Times strips away the veneer of phony objectivity of the military analysts who appear on network television.  David Barstow’s riveting story “Hidden Hand of Pentagon Helps Steer Military Analysts”   (registration required)  details the Bush Administration’s effort to curry favor with a group of network television  military analysts and keep them supplied with self-serving talking points.

And yet this isn’t the most stunning part of the story.

Administrations have always fought to have the media well supplied with a selective version of facts that are often at odds with what soldiers are seeing on the ground. Spinning and hosing is an old story.

The real stunner, and I’ll let you read it and decide, is the story’s evidence that — by not even telling the truth to the analysts ostensibly sympathetic to the administration — the adminstration left a slew of their allies feeling burned and lied to or what one senior officer called “hosed.”

It’s one thing to create propaganda that you dish up to your adversaries. This is the story of how the Pentagon tried, often unsuccessfully, to spin their own supporters in the military who served as media analysts. 

And how one ended up saying “I felt like we’d been hosed.”

A must read.  Superb reporting by David Barstow.

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