GASP! The Pentagon “used” the media!

The New York Times sued the government to get 8,000 pages of documents that prove those retired generals who function as expert analysts for network news programs and beyond are, in fact, pawns of the government! Oh no! The “hidden hand of the Pentagon,” they’re called. While most news organizations are falling all over themselves with this juicy piece of news manipulation, my initial reaction is, “Move along. There’s nothing to see here.”

Having just finished George Creel’s 1920 book, How We Advertised America: The First Telling Of The Amazing Story Of The Committee On Public Information That Carried The Gospel Of Americanism To Every Corner Of The Globe, the idea that the Pentagon would brief retired generals on what to say is hardly a bulletin. It’s been taking place for 100 years (and probably longer). And, of course, the press has no right to object, because it has been a willing participant for decades. As I have tried to communicate on many occasions, the father of professional journalism, Walter Lippmann, and the father of professional public relations, Edward Bernays, were both members of the Creel Committee.

Perhaps this “revelation” by The Times will be a good thing, but until the press accepts its duplicitous role beyond such currently unpopular themes as the Iraq war, it’s not going to mean much, for the “hidden hand” of the cultural élite includes the press.

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