NPR failed to identify analyst defending alleged Pentagon propaganda as a "limited government" proponent with administration ties

››› ››› SIMON MALOY

On the November 30 broadcast of National Public Radio's All Things Considered, NPR Pentagon correspondent John Hendren reported that the Department of Defense is allegedly drafting positively themed newspaper articles "that emphasize U.S. and Iraqi military victories, progress on reconstruction, and instances of Iraqis resisting insurgents." The Defense Department allegedly hired consultants to translate those articles into Arabic and paid Iraqi newspapers to publish them. The report quoted Daniel Goure -- identified by Hendren as a military analyst -- noting that "Goure is with the Lexington Institute, an Arlington, Virginia, think tank." The report did not mention that the Lexington Institute is an organization that "believes in limiting the role of the federal government to those functions explicitly stated or implicitly defined by the Constitution," or that Goure is in fact its vice president. The report also failed to mention that Goure has connections to the Pentagon and the Bush administration: He worked in the Defense Department from 1991 to 1993 and again in 2001 as part of the Department of Defense Transition Team.

Given the story's failure to identify the Lexington Institute, it follows, of course, that NPR also failed to ask Goure, an ostensible proponent of limited government, why he was defending the use of taxpayer money to create and place articles that tout its purported successes in Iraq.

From the November 30 NPR report by Hendren, who identified his source only as a consultant working with the Pentagon:

HENDREN: The consultant says newspaper editors in Iraq often acknowledge that they're aware that the U.S. government is planting the stories, noting that writers don't usually give money for their pieces, they ask for it. Some military analysts say it's not clear the military is doing anything wrong. Dan Goure is with the Lexington Institute, an Arlington, Virginia think-tank:

GOURE: It was not lying. The stories were generally correct. It happened to be a point of view. They were not all balanced, but not every story by any newspaper is a balanced statement.

NPR said nothing further about the Lexington Institute or its mission statement endorsing limited government:

The Lexington Institute believes in limiting the role of the federal government to those functions explicitly stated or implicitly defined by the Constitution. The Institute therefore actively opposes the unnecessary intrusion of the federal government into the commerce and culture of the nation, and strives to find nongovernmental, market-based solutions to public-policy challenges. We believe a dynamic private sector is the greatest engine for social progress and economic prosperity.

According to MediaTransparency.org -- an organization that "tracks the impact of conservative philanthropy on the media" -- the Lexington Institute has received more than $900,000 in grants from conservatives or limited-government proponents such as the F.M. Kirby Foundation, Inc. The organization "believe[s] that private philanthropy, at its best, if provided compassionately and prudently, encourages self-reliance and diminishes government's role."

Other news outlets have described the Lexington Institute as "conservative." A November 14 Boston Globe article by Bryan Bender quoted "Loren Thompson, chief executive officer of the Lexington Institute in Arlington, Va., a conservative think tank." A June 11 Newsday article by Craig Gordon also quoted Thompson, identifying him as "a Pentagon adviser and executive director of the Lexington Institute, a conservative think tank."

NPR also failed to identify Goure as a former Defense Department employee with connections to the Bush administration. His Lexington Institute biography notes that Goure "was a member of the 2001 Department of Defense Transition Team." He "spent two years in the U.S. Government as the director of the Office of Strategic Competitiveness in the Office of the Secretary of Defense." Although his Lexington biography does not indicate it, Goure served as director of the Office of Strategic Competitiveness under Cheney during the George H.W. Bush administration. A September 2, 1993, Cleveland Plain-Dealer article noted that Goure "retired this year as director of the Pentagon's Office of Strategic Competitiveness."

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