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Inspector at Pentagon Says Report (exonerating pundit program) Was Flawed

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sabra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-06-09 09:34 AM
Original message
Inspector at Pentagon Says Report (exonerating pundit program) Was Flawed
Source: NY Times

In a highly unusual reversal, the Defense Departments inspector generals office has withdrawn a report it issued in January exonerating a Pentagon public relations program that made extensive use of retired officers who worked as military analysts for television and radio networks.

Donald M. Horstman, the Pentagons deputy inspector general for policy and oversight, said in a memorandum released on Tuesday that the report was so riddled with flaws and inaccuracies that none of its conclusions could be relied upon. In addition to repudiating its own report, the inspector generals office took the additional step of removing the report from its Web site.

The inspector generals office began investigating the public relations program last year, in response to articles in The New York Times that exposed an extensive and largely hidden Pentagon campaign to transform network military analysts into surrogates and message force multipliers for the Bush administration. The articles also showed how military analysts with ties to defense contractors sometimes used their special access to seek advantage in the competition for contracts related to Iraq and Afghanistan.


The report has been the subject of controversy, with some members of Congress calling it a whitewash marred by obvious factual errors. For example, the report erroneously listed many military analysts as having no ties whatsoever to defense contractors. But several people who worked as aides to former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and some military analysts have cited the inspector generals report to criticize the articles.

According to Mr. Horstmans memorandum, the inspector generals office became aware of inaccuracies in the report shortly after it was published and soon began an independent internal review. The internal review concluded that the report did not meet accepted quality standards and relied on a body of testimonial evidence that was insufficient or inconclusive.

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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-06-09 09:46 AM
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1. So much for Rumsfeld's aide...

Rumsfeld Aide: NYT Story Should Have Won Pulitzer For 'Fiction'

It won the Pulitzer for investigative reporting, but now critics of the New York Times story about how retired generals were co-opted by the Pentagon to brag on the Iraq war are nominating it for another prize: fiction writing. Leading the charge are two allies of former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. "Does the Pulitzer give prizes for works of fiction? Perhaps they just got the wrong category," says former Pentagon Assistant Secretary Dorrance Smith. Rumsfeld's current spokesman, Keith Urbahn, cites a January 2009 Pentagon inspector general's report debunking the story: "The Times's reporting on DoD's routine outreach to military experts didn't merit a place in the paper, much less a Pulitzer."

At issue is an April 2008 story by David Barstow that was headlined "Behind TV Analysts, Pentagon's Hidden Hand." The Pulitzer Prize citation says Barstow's story "revealed how some retired generals, working as radio and television analysts, had been co-opted by the Pentagon to make its case for the war in Iraq, and how many of them also had undisclosed ties to companies that benefited from policies they defended."

Well, no, says the inspector general's office that issued the 85-page rebuttal, subsequently dismissed as "highly flawed" by the Times's public editor. The IG said that the program under Rumsfeld was the same kind run in past years and that the results were mixed; some of those briefed still dissed the war. And the IG found no evidence that those with ties to contractors used what they learned for a competitive edge.

Which raises this question: Did the Pulitzer committee consider the Pentagon rebuttal? We'll never know, as the judges have gone radio silent. "Jury deliberations are confidential, and we don't discuss specifics of our decision making," says Pam Maples, managing editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and chair of the investigative reporting jury. "I take the promise I made seriously."

Says Urbahn: "Between the New York Times and the Pentagon's inspector general office, it's pretty clear which is a more credible and non-partisan source."
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sabra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-06-09 09:48 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. I wonder if the memo was in response to Rummy's allies trying to smear the report?
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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-06-09 09:51 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. Maybe the NYT didn't appreciate the criticism. I do recall
when these reports came out the bloggers (Greenwald in particular) were all over this.

To this day I can't stomach seeing certain military guys on m$nbc because some of them were involved.
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Piewhacket Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-06-09 10:31 AM
Response to Original message
4. Nice post. This is important. This is what an overthrow of the US looks like.
No joke.
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