Managing McCaffreyGate

“Is there any limit to the shamelessness of NBC News?” Charles Kaiser asked here on Monday, in expressing, er, dissatisfaction with NBC News’s seeming non-reaction to (“stunning wall of silence”) David Barstow’s reporting for the New York Times (both Sunday’s piece and the one from April) on the conflicted military analysts of network news (like NBC’s Gen. Barry McCaffrey).

But, as Salon’s Glenn Greenwald reported, Barstow’s articles have set off a flurry of activity behind the scenes at NBC News. Greenwald “obtained, from a very trustworthy source, emails sent last week between NBC News executives and [its military analyst, retired Gen. Barry] McCaffrey (which cc:d Brian Williams), reflecting the extensive collaboration between NBC and McCaffrey to formulate a coordinated response to David Barstow’s story.”

Nothing shocking about a giant corporation going into crisis management coordination mode in reaction to some, um, bad press. What is perhaps shocking (or, “disturbing,” “disheartening”)?

Take it away, Cocktailhag (a commenter on Greenwald’s posts at Salon, flagged by Greenwald):

The disturbing tactics NBC has chosen here are tactics NBC e are probably the most disheartening aspect of the NYT’s disclosures about McCaffrey. Taking a page from the crooked playbook of both Nixon and Rove, we have a supposed NEWS organization attacking its critics’ patriotism, covering itself in faux “Americanism,” dragging out irrelevant and stale honors of the culprit, avoiding the real issue, and utterly stonewalling any inquiry into the matter.

This is the exact behavior a nominally free press ought to deplore as a matter of principle, but obviously the network sees itself as an infallible, untouchable, and superior entity, just as far above reproach by the rabble as the political, military, and economic elites it “covers.”

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.