Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Many Syria “Experts” Have Defense-industry Ties, Study Finds

Michael Tennant
The New American
Oct. 14, 2013

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Many of the seemingly objective experts recently appearing in the news media to discuss the pros and cons — mostly the pros — of U.S. military action against Syria are anything but disinterested parties to the debate, yet their conflicts of interest were seldom mentioned by the outlets that provided them with platforms for their opinions. That’s the conclusion of a new study from the nonprofit Public Accountability Initiative (PAI).

“The media debate surrounding the question of whether to launch a military attack on Syria in August and September of 2013 was dominated by defense industry-backed experts and think tanks,” reads the report. “These individuals and organizations are linked to dozens of defense and intelligence contractors, defense-focused investment firms, and diplomatic consulting firms with strong defense ties, yet these business ties were rarely disclosed on air or in print.”

PAI identified 22 commentators and seven think tanks whose defense-industry ties should have been disclosed because such connections could have colored their views on the wisdom of U.S. intervention in the Syrian civil war. The commentators made a combined 111 media appearances, but in just 13 of those appearances were their potential conflicts of interest disclosed, and then generally not in full.

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