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Sock Puppets for the Bush Administration

NY Times: Behind Analysts, the Pentagon’s Hidden Hand. Records and interviews show how the Bush administration has used its control over access and information in an effort to transform the analysts into a kind of media Trojan horse — an instrument intended to shape terrorism coverage from inside the major TV and radio networks.

Analysts have been wooed in hundreds of private briefings with senior military leaders, including officials with significant influence over contracting and budget matters, records show. They have been taken on tours of Iraq and given access to classified intelligence. They have been briefed by officials from the White House, State Department and Justice Department, including Mr. Cheney, Alberto R. Gonzales and Stephen J. Hadley.

In turn, members of this group have echoed administration talking points, sometimes even when they suspected the information was false or inflated. Some analysts acknowledge they suppressed doubts because they feared jeopardizing their access.

It is, of course, a scandal. What’s worse is the non-response of the media companies that have been suckers for this propaganda. Stonewalling is what we should expect from the government, not supposedly responsible news organizations.

Kudos to the NYT for exposing this outrageous behavior.

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