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Posts Tagged ‘Barry McCaffrey’

Pentagon Report Says No Conflict With TV Analyst Program

In a Christmas eve news dump, the Pentagon released a report clearing its program that sought to “brief” TV news military analysts. The New York TimesDavid Barstow–whose work covering the story helped crack it open back in 2008–has more on the report:

The inspector general’s investigation grappled with the question of whether the outreach constituted an earnest effort to inform the public or an improper campaign of news media manipulation.

The inquiry confirmed that Mr. Rumsfeld’s staff frequently provided military analysts with talking points before their network appearances. In some cases, the report said, military analysts “requested talking points on specific topics or issues.” One military analyst described the talking points as “bullet points given for a political purpose.” Another military analyst, the report said, told investigators that the outreach program’s intent “was to move everyone’s mouth on TV as a sock puppet.”

The inquiry also confirmed that Mr. Rumsfeld’s staff hired a company to track and analyze what the military analysts said during their media appearances. According to the report, four military analysts reported that they were ejected from Mr. Rumsfeld’s outreach program “because they were critical” of the Pentagon.

The report also noted NBC News military analyst Gen. Barry McCaffrey (pictured above), who was a focal point of much of the coverage:
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A Lot of Dennis Murphy on TV tonight: Bathtubs and Bin Laden

MSNBC has put together a “Dateline” special detailing the effort to kill Osama Bin Laden. The one-hour special, hosted and reported by Dennis Murphy, will run tonight at 10pmET on the cable news channel. NBC military analyst Gen. Barry McCaffrey (ret.) and former CIA Acting Director John McLaughlin take part. Meanwhile, over on NBC, Murphy reports a 2-hour crime-driven “Dateline” called “The Bathtub Mystery” a follow up to a story Murphy first reported two years ago. That’s at 9pmET/PT.

If It’s Sunday…

As we await an official announcement that David Gregory will be the new moderator of “Meet the Press” we want to pull back the curtain about how this story broke.

Gregory was at the top of most lists to take the reins of the show, so the news, if true, is no surprise.

But this is the kind of story that usually appears first in the Washington Post, the New York Times or even the Wall Street Journal. The story is that big. But it didn’t. It was first reported by Huffington Post Monday evening. Danny Shea attributed the news to no one, but rather wrote, “the Huffington Post has learned.”

Other write-ups followed, right until this morning — the New York Times, the LA Times and the Washington Post. The Associated Press story appeared in dozens more newspapers and Websites today. An NBC News spokesperson told The AP’s David Bauder Tuesday, “We have nothing to announce. Just because the Huffington Post says something doesn’t make it true.”

So, was Huffington Post lucky or good?

These announcements are usually well-coordinated press department affairs. Perhaps NBC was, and still is, hoping to make the news real Sunday morning…on the show…with Tom Brokaw handing off to Gregory.

But, as one network insider speculated yesterday, maybe NBC is slighting the paper of record for its unflattering story on NBC News military analyst Barry McCaffrey.

Our call to NBC News today requesting an update on the situation was not returned.

A General as Conduit for Military Contractor and News Network

MccNBC_11.30.jpgThe NYTimes’ David Barstow continues his reporting into U.S. Generals-turned-TV analysts.

He focuses on retired Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey and his work for military contractors while providing war analysis for the networks of NBC News.

NBC News president Steve Capus told Barstow, McCaffrey was a man of honor and achievement who would never let business obligations color his analysis. Capus added that as a consultant, McCaffrey is not required to abide by the network’s formal conflict-of-interest rules. Nor is he required to disclose his business interests. But Capus said that the network had conversations with its military analysts about the need to avoid even the appearance of a conflict, and that McCaffrey had been “incredibly forthcoming” about his ties to military contractors.

In his 5,000-word piece Barstow also concludes, “Access was part of what drew NBC to General McCaffrey. Mr. Capus said General McCaffrey ‘opens doors with generals and others who we would not otherwise be able to talk to.’”