The Pentagon announced on Friday that it was suspending its briefings for retired military officers who often appear as military analysts on television and radio programs…..Internal Pentagon documents showed that Defense Department officials referred to the retired officers as “surrogates” or “message force multipliers” who could be counted on to deliver administration “themes and messages” in the form of their own opinions. — NY Times
The announcement follows a NY Times investigation, reported one week ago, that since 2002, “the Pentagon cultivated several dozen military analysts in a campaign to generate favorable coverage of the administration’s wartime performance. The retired officers have made tens of thousands of appearances for television and radio networks, holding forth on Iraq, Afghanistan, detainee issues and terrorism in general.”
I don’t know what the problem is,” grumbles a spokesman for Fox News, one of the networks deeply involved with the hoax, when I get him on the phone Sunday afternoon. “We trot these guys out decked up in their uniforms and medals and they read the lines the Pentagon writes for ‘em. How is that different than any other program we show? They’re fuckin actors, is all. Same as Petticoat Freakin Junction, or Sex in the City.”
Well, this is supposed to be news, right?
“News, schmooze! It’s programming, is all. Entertainment. Something to stick between the shit we sell in commercials. The hell do you think television is, anyway?”
But don’t you have an obligation to present facts? Isn’t there something about journalism that emphasizes independent judgment, unbiased information?
“Whoo-hoo! You and Toto really miss Kansas, dontcha, Dorothy? I told ya: this ain’t fuckin journalism, it’s teevee. And there aren’t any ‘facts.’ These retired military whores are after the same damn thing Funkdoobiest or a pole dancer wants: moolah. We pay ‘em, they read their lines, people watch ‘em.”
Night after night thinking they’ve heard the truth.
“That’s the entertainment business. If you’re dumb enough to watch teevee news, you deserve to believe what we tell you. Last week they staged that Democrat debate and pissed everybody off, right? Wrong! It pulled amazing revenue. Best performance Georgie Stuffinenvelopes ever turned in.”
So what’s the difference between your news and professional wrestling? They’re both scripted, the on-screen talent are just actors, and the outcome is settled in advance.
“News actors don’t need to cut their foreheads with razor blades on screen. But you just gave me an idea, actually.” He rings off.
Hmmm. Steel-cage news programs. Anchorman slugging it out with folding chairs and kicking each other in the balls. Now, that I might watch.