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The administration of President George W. Bush has manipulated military analysts working for leading US television networks to generate favorable coverage of the war in Iraq and other issues, The New York Times reported on its website Saturday.
The newspaper said in trying to achieve its goal, the administration exploited not only ideological and military allegiances but also a powerful financial dynamic, namely the fact that most of these analysts have ties to military contractors vested in the very war policies they are asked to assess on television.
The conclusion came following The Times' examination of 8,000 pages of e-mail messages, transcripts and records describing years of private briefings, trips to Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, that the paper obtained after winning a lawsuit against the Pentagon.
These records reveal a symbiotic relationship where the usual dividing lines between government and journalism have been obliterated, the paper said.
Internal Pentagon documents repeatedly refer to the military analysts as "message force multipliers" or "surrogates" who could be counted on to deliver administration "themes and messages" to millions of Americans "in the form of their own opinions."