Monday, December 15, 2008

Barry's Bonds

This past weekend's On The Media featured a piece on retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey, who frequently appears on NBC, billed as a "military analyst." I've touched on this story previously (links below), calling attention to fine exposé work done by David Barstow of The New York Times. If that doesn't ring a bell, here's a short recap: McCaffrey has extensive financial ties to various defense contractors. NBC never makes these conflicts of interest known when McCaffrey appears. Both McCaffrey and NBC have dismissed Barstow's reporting, and have argued that because McCaffrey has in the past been critical of the conduct of the war in Iraq, and because he's a self-described war hero who's been wounded, he is therefore above reproach.

Here's the OTM piece, an interview by Bob Garfield of the Columbia Journalism Review's Charles Kaiser, who has been covering this story. It's about eight minutes long. The first forty seconds are the usual NPR promo and sponsorship messages.

If the embedded audio player doesn't work for you, you can visit the article page on OTM's site and download an MP3 audio file. A transcript should also be available soon on that same page -- I think OTM usually gets them up by Tuesday.

I'm delighted to see that this story is continuing to get some attention, at least, and that Barstow's investigative work was not for nothing.

Further reading:

  • My 19 April 2008 post linking to Barstow's first story, which described the overall problem of retired generals working as TV analysts, their conflicts of interest, and their connections to the Pentagon's propaganda machine.

  • My 30 November 2008 post linking to Barstow's second story, which focused on McCaffrey and NBC.

  • My 2 December 2008 post following up on the 30 November one, linking to Glenn Greenwald's post on Salon and offering several other links, including one to an article by Charles Kaiser, the CJRer interviewed by OTM.

  • McCaffrey's business web site, which at the moment has a statement on the home page responding to Barstow's more recent story. This statement makes for interesting reading in what it does and does not say.

The entire OTM show for this week is available here. As always, well worth listening to.

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