Flacks, hacks and Iraq.
David Evans has a good idea. For twenty years he served in the Marines; for four of those he was an analyst in the office of Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger. Then in 1986 he left the service and shortly after that became the military affairs and national security correspondent of the Chicago Tribune. But Evans is no Pentagon loyalist. At a recent forum on press restrictions set by the military during the gulf war, he recalled that when he was reporting from the region he was shocked by how many public affairs officers were deployed by the military. "We're talking about hundreds of people at the squadron, wing command and ship level." These flacks, he noted, constitute "a professional cadre of commissioned officers whose job it is to protect their institution:' His modest proposal: Get rid of them. He suggests that Congress remove all the funds that pay for these low-level career mouthpieces: "It's not appropriate for taxpayers to fund thought police:'
At the same conference, Tony Millen, a U.P.I. correspondent who was also in the gulf, noted that he and other U.P.I. reporters asked for their stories to be preceded by a notice saying their dispatches were censored by the U.S. military. But the brass at the wire service thought it wiser not to enter into a pissing match with the Pentagon. Millen was not in good spirits as he recalled how the media capitulated to the military's campaign to control journalists. "The moment we acceded to the pool system." he said with sadness, "we surrendered our independence."
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|Title Annotation:||Beltway Bandits; military control of US media coverage of Persian Gulf War|
|Date:||Apr 29, 1991|
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