Pentagon Pundits Still Thriving at MSNBC

During coverage of the Obama administration’s 100-day mark, MSNBC had war reporter Richard Engel and anchor Tamron Hall interview MSNBC analyst Barry McCaffrey, who‘s Clint Hendler (4/29/09) calls “the retired army general whose many conflicts of interest have been analyzed by David Barstow’s now-Pulitzer Prize winning reporting for the New York Times.” When asked by Engel about attempts to “draw away the Taliban’s source of funding by cutting down the opium crop or burning it or whatever,” McCaffrey was emphatic: “I think we’ve got to take it on. But, you know, the lead agent can’t be U.S. combat troops. It’s got to be Afghans chopping down opium poppy.” Hendler thinks he knows the source of McCaffrey’s enthusiasm, even if the MSNBCers don’t (or at least aren’t saying):

Neither Hall, Engel nor McCaffrey made mention of DynCorp, a major military contractor that’s doing exactly that–training Afghans to eradicate poppies.

Nor did they mention that McCaffrey sits on DynCorp’s board, which according to federal contracting records, garnered contracts in 2008 and 2009 worth over $323 million dollars with the State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, including its work in Afghanistan.

Read more on media treatment of Barry McCaffrey and his Pentagon brethren in the FAIR publication Extra! Update: “Network News Blackout on Pentagon Pundits” (6/08) by Isabel Macdonald.