Ever wondered why, in the ramp up to the newest U.S. military intervention, certain “experts” pop up on nearly every news channel? The answer is as easy as it is expected.
Findings in a recent study by the Public Accountability Initiative reveal that 22 of the traveling quorum of “expert commentators” have strong ties to the military-industrial complex. Although these people were described by the media as “experts” on at least 111 occasions, their associations with defense contractors were mentioned only 13 times.
Stephen Hadley, national security advisor to President George W. Bush, is the focus of much of the report. In the days when a possible military strike on Syria was being discussed constantly on television news programs, Hadley was on TV almost as much as commercials, appearing on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and Bloomberg TV.
Remarkably, during these dozens of interviews, not a single mention was made of Hadley’s current position with Raytheon, manufacturer of the Tomahawk missile, the weapon most often mentioned as the means the United States would use to punish the Assad regime.
Beyond his role as director at the mega-contractor, Hadley also reportedly “owns over 11,000 shares of Raytheon stock, which traded at all-time highs during the Syria debate.”
In the Public Accountability Initiative’s summary of its report, the organization explains:
The report offers a new look at an issue raised by David Barstow’s 2008 Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times series on the role military analysts played in promoting the Bush Administration’s narrative on Iraq. In addition to exposing coordination with the Pentagon, Barstow found that many cable news analysts had industry ties that were not disclosed on air.
Of the 22 television commentators and the 111 times they were touted as foreign policy “experts,” the report found that there were “varying types of conflict of interest.”
Most of the time, the conflict involved “industry ties that pose significant and direct conflicts of interest.” Although a few of the experts had less obvious relationships to corporate war profiteers, every one of them had, the report found, “a financial interest in continuing heightened levels of US military action abroad.”
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Photo: General Anthony Zinni