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November 30, 2008 09:06 PM UTC

One Man's Military-Industrial-Media Complex

  • 2 Comments
  • by: Canines

Here’s an article in the New York Times called “One Man’s Military-Industrial-Media Complex” about General Barry McCaffrey’s rather, er, active career — tricky business, really — working for defense contractors as a consultant, working for media outlets as a consultant, and acting as a consultant to the US government:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11…

Through seven years of war an exclusive club has quietly flourished at the intersection of network news and wartime commerce. Its members, mostly retired generals, have had a foot in both camps as influential network military analysts and defense industry rainmakers. It is a deeply opaque world, a place of privileged access to senior government officials, where war commentary can fit hand in glove with undisclosed commercial interests and network executives are sometimes oblivious to possible conflicts of interest.

Few illustrate the submerged complexities of this world better than Barry McCaffrey…

Many retired officers hold a perch in the world of military contracting, but General McCaffrey is among a select few who also command platforms in the news media and as government advisers on military matters. These overlapping roles offer them an array of opportunities to advance policy goals as well as business objectives. But with their business ties left undisclosed, it can be difficult for policy makers and the public to fully understand their interests.

On NBC and in other public forums, General McCaffrey has consistently advocated wartime policies and spending priorities that are in line with his corporate interests. But those interests are not described to NBC’s viewers. He is held out as a dispassionate expert, not someone who helps companies win contracts related to the wars he discusses on television.

Comments

2 thoughts on “One Man’s Military-Industrial-Media Complex

  1. .

    Barry was on track to retire in anonymity, until that fateful day at the Clinton White House.

    A Clinton staffer suggested that Barry, the “Drug Czar,” wear a business suit instead of the Army Class B’s he was in.  Barry looked puzzled.  So she explained, “we don’t like the military around here.”

    Barry now had a chip in the big game.  

    He parlayed that chip into 3 promotions or transfers to better positions under BC.

    I think that the Clinton team was overcompensating for something.  

    Barry is a true entrepreneur.

    .

    1. He is well-known for having been Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) under President Bill Clinton from 1996 to 2001. As Drug Czar, General McCaffrey (ret.) was instrumental in negotiating a deal to place anti-drug messages in prime time television shows without acknowledging that these messages were paid for by his Office.[3] This created quite a scandal when it was revealed in Salon.com.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B

      But, I guess the point of the New York Times’ article is: even without Barry McCaffrey, there are plenty of other retired generals willing to shill for defense contractors while passing themselves off on TV as unbiased media consultants.

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