Published on Tuesday, April 21, 2009 by Salon.com
The Pulitzer-Winning Investigation That Dare Not Be Uttered on TV
The New York Times' David Barstow won a richly deserved Pulitzer Prize yesterday for two  articles  that, despite being featured as major news stories on the front page of The Paper of Record, were completely suppressed by virtually every network and cable news show , which to this day have never informed their viewers about what Bartow uncovered. Here is how the Pulitzer Committee described Barstow's exposés :
Awarded to David Barstow of The New York Times for his tenacious reporting that revealed how some retired generals, working as radio and television analysts, had been co-opted by the Pentagon to make its case for the war in Iraq, and how many of them also had undisclosed ties to companies that benefited from policies they defended.
By whom were these "ties to companies" undisclosed and for whom did these deeply conflicted retired generals pose as "analysts"? ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, CNN and Fox -- the very companies that have simply suppressed the story from their viewers. They kept completely silent about Barstow's story even though it sparked Congressional inquiries , vehement objections from the then-leading Democratic presidential candidates , and allegations that the Pentagon program violated legal prohibitions on domestic propaganda programs . The Pentagon's secret collaboration with these "independent analysts" shaped multiple news stories  from each of these outlets on a variety of critical topics. Most amazingly, many of them continue to employ as so-called "independent analysts" the very retired generals at the heart of
And even now that Barstow yesterday won the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting -- one of the most prestigious awards any news story can win -- these revelations still may not be uttered on television, tragically dashing the hope expressed yesterday  (rhetorically, I presume) by Media Matters' Jamison Foser that "maybe now that the story has won a Pulitzer for Barstow, they'll pay attention." Instead, it was Atrios' prediction that was decisively confirmed : "I don't think a Pulitzer will be enough to give the military analyst story more attention." Here is what Brian Williams said last night on his NBC News broadcast in reporting on the prestigious awards:
The Pulitzer Prizes for journalism and the arts were awarded today. The New York Times led the way with five, including awards for breaking news and international reporting.
No mention that among the five NYT prizes was one for investigative reporting. Williams did manage to promote the fact that one of the award winners was an MSNBC contributor, but sadly did not find the time to inform his viewers that NBC News' war reporting and one of Williams' still-featured premiere "independent analysts ," Gen. Barry McCaffrey, was and continues to be at the heart of the scandal for which Barstow won the Pulitzer. Williams' refusal to inform his readers about this now-Pulitzer-winning story is particularly notable given his direct personal involvement  in the secret, joint attempts by NBC and McCaffrey to contain P.R. damage to NBC from Barstow's story, compounded by the fact that NBC was on notice of these multiple conflicts as early as April, 2003, when The Nation first reported on them .
Identically, CNN ran an 898-word story  on the various Pulitzer winners -- describing virtually every winner -- but was simply unable to find any space even to mention David Barstow's name, let alone inform their readers that he won the Prize for uncovering core corruption at the heart of CNN's coverage of the
The outright refusal of any of these "news organizations" even to mention what
Has there ever been another Pulitzer-Prize-winning story for investigative reporting never to be mentioned on major television -- let alone one that was twice featured as the lead story on the front page of The New York Times? To pose the question is to answer it.
UPDATE: Media Matters has more  on the glaring omissions in Brian Williams' "reporting" and on the pervasive impact of the Pentagon's program on television news coverage. Williams' behavior has long been disgraceful on this issue , almost certainly due to the fact that some of the "analysts" most directly implicated by
On a different note, CQ's Jeff Stein responds today to some of the objections to his Jane-Harman/AIPAC/Alberto-Gonazles blockbuster story  -- quite convincingly, in my view -- and, as Christy Hardin Smith notes , the New York Times has now independently confirmed much of what Stein reported.
UPDATE II: For some added irony: on his NBS News broadcast last night suppressing any mention of David Barstow's Pulitzer Prize, Brian Williams' lead story concerned Obama's trip to the CIA yesterday. Featured in that story was commentary from Col. Jack Jacobs, identified on-screen this way: "Retired, NBC News Military Analyst." Jacobs was one of the retired officers who was an active member of the Pentagon's "military analyst" program , and indeed, he actively helped plan the Pentagon's media strategy  at the very same time he was posing as an "independent analyst" on NBC  (h/t reader gc; via NEXIS). So not only did Williams last night conceal from his viewers any mention of the Pentagon program, he featured -- on the very same broadcast -- "independent" commentary from one of the central figures involved in that propaganda program.
On a related note, Howard Kurtz was asked in his Washington Post chat yesterday about Mike Allen's grant of anonymity to a "top Bush official" that I highlighted on Saturday , and Kurtz -- while defending much of Allen's behavior -- said: "I don't believe an ex-official should have been granted anonymity for that kind of harsh attack."
© 2009 Salon.com
Glenn Greenwald was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator in
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs