By Glenn Greenwald
The New York Times's David Barstow, whose excellent and aggressive journalism led to the uncovering last April of the Pentagon's domestic propaganda program involving network "military analysts," today returns to this topic with another lengthy front-page exposé. Barstow focuses today on the numerous, undisclosed conflicts of interest of Gen. Barry McCaffrey, who continues to be featured frequently by NBC News as an objective analyst as he opines about war policies in which he has a substantial (and concealed) financial stake.
Some of the key facts which Barstow reports concerning the improper behavior of McCaffrey and NBC News were documented all the way back in April, 2003, in this excellent article from The Nation, which Barstow probably should have credited today. That article -- entitled "TV's Conflicted Experts" -- detailed the numerous defense contractors to which McCaffrey had a substantial connection -- including Mitretek, Veritas and Integrated Defense Technologies, all featured by Barstow today -- and highlighted how the policies and viewpoints McCaffrey was advocating as a "military analyst" on NBC directly benefited those companies.
Because those conflicts were brought to light by the anti-war Nation, and because that article was published in April, 2003, as the country was drowning in a war-crazed frenzy, NBC was able to blithely dismiss these concerns, unbelievably telling The Nation that its military analysts' business interests were "not their concern." Unsurprisingly, the Nation article generated little attention and controversy. Few people were interested back then in challenging war-praising retired Generals and the networks which were glorifying the invasion. NBC continued without objection to feature McCaffrey, and the similarly-conflicted retired Gen. Wayne Downing, as objective "military analysts."