It's good to see that famed war reporter Joe Galloway is hitting back at attempts to embroil him in the Pentagon's "media generals" propaganda scandal. Former Pentagon spokesman Larry DiRita earlier this week mentioned, in a note to Glenn Greenwald of Salon.com, that Donald Rumsfeld didn't just deploy known backers of the Iraq war to all of the TV networks - he also called on critics such as Galloway.
Now Joe (who used to call DiRita a friend) has shot that one down, as I knew he would. In his usual colorful way, he has also labeled that spin promoted by the Pentagon pure "horse manure."
I've known Joe for a few years now, and he has written often for my Editor & Publisher site. A true legend, he has covered seven wars going back to Vietnam, won a Bronze Star for valor and co-wrote "We Were Soldiers Once and Young." I chronicle his battles with DiRita and Rumsfeld in my new book--and he wrote the foreword for that book, where he hit the Rummy Pentagon once again.
I've just posted Joe's reply to DiRita's slander at E&P. It opens, "Once upon a time, it was widely believed that one of the greatest sins the U.S. government or its temporary political masters could commit was to turn a propaganda machine loose on the American people," so you know where he is going with this.
He denies attending even one of the military analyst "briefings" and details the few attempts DiRita reached out to him - which just led to more Galloway criticism of Rumsfeld.
"So much for the Rumsfeld/DiRita outreach to their critics," he concludes. " They were much too busy hand-feeding horse manure to their TV generals, who in turn were feeding the same product to the American public by the cubic yard.
"There's little doubt that this program violated the laws against covert propaganda operations mounted against the American public by their own government. But in this administration, there's no one left to enforce that law or any of the other laws the Bush operatives have been busy violating.
"The real crime is that the scheme worked. The television network bosses swallowed the bait, the hook, the line and the sinker, and they have yet to answer for it."
Now that Joe has joined Greenwald and others on the rampage, perhaps that will still change.
Here's Galloway's full column:
Greg Mitchell's new book is So Wrong for So Long: How the Press, the Pundits -- and the President -- Failed on Iraq. It features a preface by Bruce Springsteen and a foreword by Joe Galloway.