Josh Marshall wonders if any networks (cable or broadcast) have followed up on David Barsow’s “blockbuster article detailing how the Pentagon has used a mix of control of access, defense contracts and more to get network ‘military analysts’ to spout Pentagon talking points in their on-camera analysis.”

I’m doing a quick TV Eyes search and, at first glance, see that Fox News’ Shep Smith mentioned the report while at Yankee Stadium on Sunday covering the Pope. He asked a Catholic priest:

I want to ask you a couple of things. There was an 8,000 word article in the New York Times this morning about how generals who retired generals from the war became analysts and we are really marching to the Pentagon’s orders and giving the story that the Pentagon want the out here. I look up and down here and I see, I see guys who look like you. [Camera pans to rows and rows of similarly-attired Catholic clergy]. And I just wonder, is there some sort of coordinated effort through the church to spread a certain message? Is it organized in that way?

(Oh, and for the record, the priest told Smith that “No one has ever told us what to say and no one is telling us what to say today and a lot of priests will say different things tan what we are saying.”)

But, is this “follow-up?” Of a kind, I suppose.

Marshall’s is a good question. I’m going to look around a bit more.


UPDATE: Couldn’t find any mentions on NBC, CBS or ABC.

On CNN, Howard Kurtz and guests chewed it over on Sunday’s Reliable Sources, with Mark Feldstein, a George Washington University journalism professor, saying:

What you’re talking about here is a deliberate effort to subvert the Democratic process, really, to fool the news media and the public, to lie us into this war in Iraq. And the fact that the networks were handmaidens in this lie raises disturbing questions that Congress should investigate.
On Monday, Kurtz also took a stab at a bit of follow-up reporting to the Times piece, getting a defensive quote from a Pentagon spokesman (“To suggest [the analysts] could be puppets of the Defense Department is a little insulting to all of them”) and asking one of CNN’s retired general pundits, Gen. Don Sheppard, his take (he has felt “no pressure whatsover to present anything other than my honest opinion about what’s going on”).

And one of Fox News’ former “military analysts” told Kurtz he was kicked out of the Pentagon/Rummy briefings after being critical of the Iraq war on Bill O’Reilly’s show. Kurtz also tried unsuccessfully to reach one of CNN’s former analysts, fired by the network for (says CNN) not disclosing his ties to military contractors (the analyst said he disclosed it all to CNN).

Kurtz concluded his report: “The question is whether many of these analysts have been less independent than they appear on television?” I’d say “the question is” (since the answer to Kurtz’s question seems to be yes), what is CNN and its peers going to do to prevent it from happening again?

Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.