As Glenn Greenwald writes:
It has now been more than ten days since the New York Times exposed the Pentagon's domestic propaganda program involving retired generals and, still, not a single major news network has even mentioned the story to their viewers, let alone responded to the numerous questions surrounding their own behavior. This steadfast blackout occurs despite the fact that the Pentagon propaganda program almost certainly violates numerous federal laws; both Democratic presidential candidates sternly denounced the Pentagon's conduct; and Congressional inquiries are already underway, all of which forced the Pentagon to announce that it suspended its program.
Still, there has not been a peep from the major news networks at the center of the storm, the integrity of whose reporting on the Iraq war is directly implicated by this story. Even establishment media defender Howard Kurtz called their ongoing failure to cover this story "pathetic."
Like Fox and CBS, NBC News outright refused to answer any questions about the allegations when asked by the NYT's David Bartsow, and its prime time anchor, Brian Williams, has delivered seven broadcasts since the story was published and has not uttered a word to NBC's viewers about any of it. Yesterday, I wrote about an entry on Williams' blog -- which he calls "The Daily Nightly" -- in which Williams found the time to mock one frivolous cultural puff piece after the next in the Sunday edition of the NYT, even as he still had refused even to acknowledge the expose in last Sunday's NYT that calls into serious question the truthfulness and reliability of his "journalism."
And as Greenwald makes clear, the full "response" by Williams includes his own very important personal avowal that you can trust people like Barry McCaffrey and the late Wayne Downing. Because they're patriots. Or something. But Williiams conveniently ignores this little fact, as was highlighted by LithiumCola, from the blockbuster New York Times article:
Two of NBC's most prominent analysts, Barry R. McCaffrey and the late Wayne A. Downing, were on the advisory board of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, an advocacy group created with White House encouragement in 2002 to help make the case for ousting Saddam Hussein.
In sum, then, the response by Williams essentially amounts to this: trust me, these guys have credibility. What's stunning- or not- is that Williams apparently neither knows nor cares that what's been exposed is not only the complete lack of credibility of the Pentagon propagandists, it's also that of the television "news" divisions. And that of Williams himself. Media Matters puts it all in perspective:
Since The New York Times reported on the hidden ties between media military analysts and the Pentagon on April 20, the three major broadcast networks -- ABC, CBS, and NBC -- have still not mentioned the report at all, according to a Media Matters for America search* of the Nexis news database. Times reporter David Barstow wrote that "the Bush administration has used its control over access and information in an effort to transform" these military analysts, many of whom have clients with an interest in obtaining Pentagon contracts, "into a kind of media Trojan horse -- an instrument intended to shape terrorism coverage from inside the major TV and radio networks." As Media Matters noted, the three networks also reportedly declined to participate in a segment on the April 24 edition of PBS' NewsHour regarding the Times story; Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC also refused to appear in the PBS segment.
By contrast, during their April 28 evening newscasts, all three broadcast networks reported on the Vanity Fair photo of Miley Cyrus, star of Disney Channel's Hannah Montana: ABC devoted about two and a half minutes to that story, while CBS and NBC each devoted about two minutes to it.
As Meteor Blades concludes:
In the old days in Japan, so the story goes, bosses who engaged in illegal, destructive or merely shameful behavior made a deep bow to those they had offended and headed off to a private room for a date with the blade of a tanto.
Even for those who've betrayed their fellow citizens and helped deliver thousands to their deaths for profit, seppuku's admittedly a bit harsh. But if the craven news chiefs and channel owners were the least bit honest and upstanding, they'd be setting aside 15 or 20 minutes of broadcast time to apologize to the American people for acting as propagandists, for their malicious, intentional, long-running disinformation campaign. And they'd end with an on-the-air resignation and a vow never again to head up a media operation.
But then, if they were honest and upstanding, they wouldn't be who they are. And we wouldn't be where we are, mired in Iraq with no end in sight.
A hundred years of scrubbing will not remove the blood from their hands.
Nor will John McCain's 10,000 year timetable.