May 14, 2008 – The blogosphere has been abuzz about the Internet posting of audio of a luncheon former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld held with media military analysts that provides insight into the relationship between those analysts and the Pentagon.
The Pentagon released the audio in response to requests filed by The New York Times under the Freedom of Information Act.
On April 20, The Times published “Behind TV Analysts, Pentagon’s Hidden Hand,” in which reporter David Barstow detailed a “Pentagon information apparatus that has used those analysts in a campaign to generate favorable news coverage of the administration’s wartime performance.”
The government released the audio, which lasts nearly an hour, on May 8. Jack Gillis, a 55-year-old self-described news junkie, downloaded it over the past weekend and analyzed it.
His findings, which he posted Monday on his Newsvine account (MSNBC is the owner of Newsvine), include a review of eight clips totaling nearly 10 minutes. Gillis, an adjunct professor of composition and rhetoric at a community college, also provides a link to the full audio.
The luncheon was held in December 2006, a month after Rumsfeld resigned as defense secretary.
The clips Gillis provides include one in which the media analysts suggest, with Rumsfeld’s agreement, that Iraq needs an authoritarian dictator. In another, Rumsfeld suggests that the American public lacked the “maturity” to understand that the nation remained under threat from terrorists and that the only “correction” would be another attack on the U.S.
Gillis said that since he posted the analysis and audio on Monday, he has been fielding e-mails and phone calls and has had his work picked up by other blogs, including huffingtonpost.com.
The full audio, clips, analysis and links to other blogs can be found on his Newsvine account.