Memo to the media: Have you hosted on air the person who told Rumsfeld at military analyst meeting, "You are the leader. You are our guy"?

››› ››› MATT GERTZ

In an audio recording of an April 18, 2006, Pentagon meeting attended by several media military analysts, one of the attendees tells then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld that he would "personally love" for Rumsfeld "to take the offensive, to just go out there and just crush these people so that when we go on, we're -- forgive me -- we're parroting, but it's what has to be said. It's what we believe in, or we would not be saying it." He adds: "And we'd love to be following our leader, as indeed you are. You are the leader. You are our guy." Will media outlets try to determine if they have hosted the speaker?

Following the publication of the April 20 New York Times front-page article on the hidden ties between media military analysts and the Pentagon, the Department of Defense has released to the public numerous documents regarding the analyst program. One of the documents released is an audio recording of an April 18, 2006, meeting that several military analysts attended with then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Gen. Peter Pace, then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. During the meeting, one of the attendees tells Rumsfeld, "[W]e get beat up on television sometimes when we go on and we are debating" and says that he would "personally love" for Rumsfeld "to take the offensive, to just go out there and just crush these people so that when we go on, we're -- forgive me -- we're parroting, but it's what has to be said. It's what we believe in, or we would not be saying it." The individual adds: "And we'd love to be following our leader, as indeed you are. You are the leader. You are our guy." The transcript released by the Pentagon does not identify the person who made this comment; the Pentagon has provided this list of "confirmed" "[p]articipants." Media Matters for America has documented the consistent unwillingness of most of the outlets mentioned in the Times article to discuss the military analyst story. Will media outlets try to determine if they have hosted the person who asserted that Rumsfeld was "our guy" and suggested that he would "parrot[]" Rumsfeld's statements?

The Times article quoted portions of the individual's statement.

According to the list released to the Times by the Pentagon, "confirmed" "[p]articipants" for the April 18, 2006, meeting with Rumsfeld and Pace included:

Jed Babbin

Lt. Gen. Frank B. Campbell

Dr. James Jay Carafano

Col. (Tim) J. Eads

Gen. Ronald Fogelman

Col. John Garrett

Gen. William F. "Buck" Kernan

Lt. Col. Robert L. Maginnis

Col. Jeff McCausland

Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney

Capt. Chuck Nash

Gen. William L. Nash

Maj. Gen. Robert H. Scales Jr.

Maj. Gen. Donald W. Shepperd

Wayne Simmons

Capt. Martin L. Strong

Gen. Tom Wilkerson

The Times article reported that ABC military analyst William Nash was "repulsed" by the meeting and quoted him saying: "I walked away from that session having total disrespect for my fellow commentators, with perhaps one or two exceptions."

From the April 18, 2006, meeting:

UNIDENTIFIED 1: I'm an old intel guy, and I can sum all of this up, unfortunately, with one word. And that is "psyops." Now, most people, when they hear that, they think, "Oh my God --

RUMSFELD: Yeah.

UNIDENTIFIED 1: -- "they're trying to brainwash [inaudible]."

RUMSFELD: "What are you, some kind of nut? You don't believe in the Constitution?"

UNIDENTIFIED 2: Well, he is.

[laughter]

UNIDENTIFIED 1: Some have characterized [inaudible]. But I would also disagree with you, sir, respectfully. You are absolutely brilliant in front of the camera. And anybody --

RUMSFELD: It's by acting. Because I don't spend any time --

UNIDENTIFIED 1: It doesn't matter. The point is that you are. And I think most of us would agree with that. And --

RUMSFELD: But I -- but -- but --

UNIDENTIFIED 1: -- to take the offensive is -- because many of us go on every day. We don't agree with everything the administration does, maybe with some of your decisions and -- but we get beat up on television sometimes when we go on and we are debating, and then we take the -- and we're all thick-skinned, or we wouldn't continue to do this.

RUMSFELD: Mm-hmm.

UNIDENTIFIED 1: But we would love -- I would personally love -- and I think I speak for most of the gentlemen here at the table -- for you to take the offensive, to just go out there and just crush these people so that when we go on, we're -- forgive me -- we're parroting, but it's what has to be said. It's what we believe in, or we would not be saying it.

[crosstalk]

UNIDENTIFIED 1: And we'd love to be following our leader, as indeed you are. You are the leader. You are our guy.

Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy
Stories/Interests
Media Ethics
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