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Talking Points TV


Published May 20, 2009 at 4:00 a.m.

The New York Times steps up with a major piece of investigative reporting that does for television what the Judith Miller affair did for, well, the New York Times.

Reporter David Barstow mined 8,000 pages of emails and internal documents to explain how the Bush administration has tried to "shape terrorism coverage from inside the major TV and radio networks."

The piece describes how the military "analysts" you see regularly on cable and network television were "wooed" by the Pentagon with private briefings, government-funded trips to Iraq and even access to classified intelligence in a concerted effort to mislead the American people about the progress of the war. 

In turn, members of this group have echoed administration talkingpoints, sometimes even when they suspected the information was false orinflated. Some analysts acknowledge they suppressed doubts because theyfeared jeopardizing their access.

A few expressed regret forparticipating in what they regarded as an effort to dupe the Americanpublic with propaganda dressed as independent military analysis.

“Itwas them saying, ‘We need to stick our hands up your back and move yourmouth for you,’ ” Robert S. Bevelacqua, a retired Green Beret andformer Fox News analyst, said.