The Spectacle Blog

The Rolling Stoned Media Who ‘Stare at Goats’

By on 3.1.11 | 11:10AM

Has there ever been a more absurd article than the one Rolling Stone has just published? The magazine alleges that at the behest of Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, the Army initiated "psychological operations" against members of Congress in order to get these legislators to support the war in Afghanistan.

As the Washington Times observes in a superb editorial:

From the tone of the article, an unsuspecting reader could conclude that the U.S. military has secret teams of warriors employing Jedi mind tricks, or active units of "men who stare at goats." Senior military leaders are portrayed as being out to use government resources and martial techniques to dupe U.S. lawmakers.

This is an absurd charge that defies credulity, and which, as I explain over at FrumForum, has absolutely no basis in fact.

Yet tellingly, this tall tale was swallowed hook, line and sinker by the legacy media. CNN, for instance, "flashed up a chyron graphic on the screen alleging a ‘Pentagon brainwashing campaign,' the Times reports.

Less sensationally, the story was taken seriously, and treated respectfully, by virtually every big media outlet, as well as by influential lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

Why, even Defense Secretary Robert Gates said it was "important to determine the facts before drawing any conclusions," reports that other newspaper, the New York Times. And so Gen. Petraeus has called for an investigation of the matter.

Nonsense. We know the facts, and they are these: The Pentagon lacks any real ability or desire to conduct so-called psychological operations against U.S. lawmakers.

What Lt. Gen. Caldwell wanted was good public affairs work -- this to better ascertain and address congressional concerns. And that is perfectly legitimate and not illegal. Next.

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