US media failed to cite pundits’ ties to defense industry in Syria strike debate

US media failed to cite pundits’ ties to defense industry in Syria strike debate

Nearly two dozen of the commentators who appeared on major media outlets to discuss a possible US military strike on Syria had relationships with contractors and other organizations with a vested interest in the conflict, according to a new report.

  The Public Accountability Initiative, a non-profit research group  dedicated to “investigating power and corruption at the  heights of business and government,” determined that 22 of  the pundits who spoke to the  media during the public debate over whether the US should bomb  Syria appeared to have conflicts of interest. Seven think tanks  with murky affiliations were also involved in the debate.

  Some analysts held board positions or held stock in companies  that produce weapons for the US military, while others conducted  work for private firms with the relationships not disclosed to  the public.

  Perhaps the most notable example is that of Stephen Hadley, a  former national security advisor to President George Bush who  argued in favor of striking Syria in appearances on CNN, MSNBC,  Fox News and Bloomberg TV. He also wrote an editorial in The  Washington Post with the headline, “To stop Iran, Obama must  enforce red lines with Assad.”

Nowhere in those appearances was it disclosed, according to the  report, that Hadley is a director with Raytheon, a weapons  manufacturer that produces the Tomahawk cruise missiles the US  almost certainly would have used had it intervened in Syria.  Hadley earns an annual salary of $128,5000 from Raytheon and owns  11,477 shares of Raytheon stock. His holdings were worth $891,189  as of August 23.

We found lots of industry ties. Some of them are stronger  than others. Some really rise to the level of clear conflicts of  interest,” Kevin Connor, co-author of the report, told The  Washington Post. “These networks and these commentators should  err on the side of disclosure.”

The report found that, out of 37 appearances of the pundits  named, CNN attempted to disclose that individual’s ties a mere  seven times. In 23 appearances on Fox News there was not a single  attempt to disclose industry ties. And in 16 appearances on NBC  or its umbrella networks, attempts at disclosure were made five  times.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.