"Pentagon Holds ‘Bloggers Roundtables’ To Cater To Right-Wing Noise Machine"
UPDATE: Since publishing this post, ThinkProgress has been in contact with the Pentagon, and they have agreed to allow us to participate in the bloggers roundtables.
Today, Glenn Greenwald observes that the military has become “rapidly politicized, fully incorporated into…the model of the Republican right-wing noise machine.” Since January, the Pentagon has sought advice from “political hacks” like Bush/Cheney ’04 aide Steve Schmidt who recently “went over to Iraq to look at the communications capabilities” of the military.
Another aspect of this politicization is the budding ties between the right-wing blogosphere and the military. Last October, the Pentagon announced that it was “starting an operation akin to a political campaign war room” in order to “set the record straight” on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. New teams were to “develop messages” focusing “on newer media, such as blogs.”
In February, the Pentagon began holding Bloggers Roundtables to “provide source material for stories in the blogosphere concerning the DoD and the Global War on Terrorism.” But at these roundtables, the Pentagon has reserved space almost exclusively for conservatives and military bloggers. Some examples of the bloggers on the roundtables just this month:
When the program was started in February, the calls occurred approximately once a week; since September, the Defense Department PR team has surged the roundtables’ frequency to nearly every day. Many of these conservative bloggers regularly appear on the calls, receiving unfettered access to military strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan. One military official explained the real intent:
[W]e’re trying to do as many of these type of blogger calls as possible to let folks know what is really going on out there and to provide the opportunity for people to hear and write about it.
Despite the regular frequency of the “Blogger Roundtables,” progressive bloggers or anti-war military bloggers are rarely featured. Furthermore, small blogs like that of Fox News anchor Griff Jenkins are featured on the calls while more prominent progressive blogs are not.