Many of the pundits who commented on a potential war with Syria had major conflicts of interest that were not disclosed to viewers and readers, according to a new report.
The study from the Public Accountability Initiative looked at 22 different commentators who made 111 appearances on television or in op-ed pages. PAI said all of them had ties to the defense and intelligence industries, both of which would have benefited from military engagement in Syria. However, these connections were disclosed just 13 times.
The report made particular mention of Stephen Hadley, former national security adviser to George W. Bush:
Hadley argued strenuously for military intervention in appearances on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and Bloomberg TV, and authored a Washington Post op-ed headlined "To stop Iran, Obama must enforce red lines with Assad."
In each case, Hadley's audience was not informed that he serves as a director of Raytheon, the weapons manufacturer that makes the Tomahawk cruise missiles that were widely cited as a weapon of choice in a potential strike against Syria. Hadley earns $128,500 in annual cash compensation from the company and chairs its public affairs committee. He also owns 11,477 shares of Raytheon stock, which traded at all-time highs during the Syria debate ($77.65 on August 23, making Hadley's share's worth $891,189). Despite this financial stake, Hadley was presented to his audience as an experienced, independent national security expert.
Read the full report here.