Pundit Inquiry Result Still Pending At FCC

A resolution is still pending of an official FCC inquiry into the role of the media in the Pentagon's imbedded military analyst program.

That is according to FCC spokesman, who confirmed that the FCC had received responses back from networks and others in the inquiry but could provide no timetable for when the FCC would release its conclusions.

The investigation was launched after House Energy & Commerce Chairman John Dingell (D-MI) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) asked the commission to look into a New York Times story about the Department of Defense program, in which military analysts were prepped by the administration and used as "force multipliers" to talk up administration policies.

A number of legislators wanted to know whether TV stations or networks bear any responsibility for not identifying the analyst's connection to the Pentagon or defense contractors.

The Defense Department's Inspector General's (IG) Office last week rescinded a report that had concluded there was insufficient evidence that the Pentagon's imbedded pundit program violated the prohibition on using appropriations for publicity or propaganda. But DOD also said it would not issue a new report, pointing out the program had ended and those responsible were not longer working for DOD.

In a blog posting, Diane Farsetta, senior researcher for the Center For Media and Democracy, whose charter is "exposing spin and government propaganda," said they weren't expecting accountability for the program to come from DOD, and said it was up to Congress and the FCC to carry out "real investigations" into the campaign.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.