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Monday, February 22, 2010

Shepard Said NPR Should Advise Listeners About Military Contractor's Conflicts of Interests...and Then NPR Doesn't

Pink and green pentagonal peace sign doodles added by yours, truly to annoy the powers that be.

In fiddling about with the Muckety map for NPR, I noticed that Colgen, LP is a client for both Fox News and NPR and that Colgen's CEO, General Robert H. Scales (ret) is a military analyst for these "news" outlets.

Sourcewatch has a good summary of the military analysts propaganda scandal.

Eyes on Fox has a little comparison study of Scales' reports to Fox and NPR from about 4 years ago.

In April of 2008, after being called on this underhanded propaganda, Alicia Shepard vowed to advise listeners that Scales is CEO of Colgen, a military contractor. She wrote,
Rather than toss Scales off the air and lose his practical and scholarly knowledge of the Army, in the future NPR should always be transparent and identify him as a defense consultant with Colgen. NPR's audience can evaluate what Scales says through that lens. NPR should also append a note to each archived Scales' appearances that indicates he is also a defense consultant with Colgen. What also is needed, and I believe NPR will now begin doing, is a more careful vetting of all experts before they go on air,
But in this October 2009 story, Was McChrystal Wrong To Advise Obama Publicly?, Scales is described only as "(U.S. Army, Retired; Military Historian)." So much for that vow. A comment at the ombudsman's web site says it well:

"Scales appeared on different NPR news shows -- a total of 36 times in 2003...."
"Since February 2003, he has been on NPR 67 times, most often (28 appearances) on All Things Considered (ATC)."
"Rhame has appeared on NPR news shows 48 times -- 43 of them in 2003."

And how many times did you have serious critics of the entire US policy toward Iraq? Or experts who were right about the facts from the start. It is ok to get the military view that these retired officers present, but what about Scott Ritter, Chalmers Johnson, Noam Chomsky, Patrick Coburn, Robert Fisk, Juan Cole etc. Your coverage is heavily weighted toward active and former US government or military personnel.

Sent by MyTwords | 10:20 PM ET | 04-30-2008

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