Pentagon Shill Returns to CNN to Talk About Iran

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Brig. Gen. David L. Grange doesn’t wear a star on his shoulder much since his retirement in 1999. But he’s on the list of retired officers the Pentagon has cultivated in an effort to influence domestic news coverage of military matters.

In fact, Grange, a CNN analyst, was tagged as the most visible shill for the Pentagon since 2002.

The Pentagon suspended the analysts’ program and its weekly briefings shortly after the Times published its story in April revealing the extent of the Pentagon’s message massaging.

When Grange appeared again on CNN late last week, host Lou Dobbs made no mention of Grange’s previous participation in the Pentagon program. But he did ask him about Iran:

[Special Thanks to TPM Reader LB for the tip.]Here’s a bit of the transcript:

DOBBS: Well, here is — on another issue. Let’s take a listen to what General Petraeus had to say today about Iran.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS, CMDR. MULTI-NATIONAL FORCE-IRAQ: Iran continues to be a destabilizing influence in the region. It persists in its nontransparent pursuit of nuclear technology and continues to fund, train and arm dangerous militia organizations.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DOBBS: What are we supposed to do with that?

GRANGE: Believe it.

DOBBS: OK. Then what?

GRANGE: Then we take — make sure that we take the diplomatic informational (ph), military and economic measures to make sure Iran understands the line in the sand that must be drawn.

Grange, who led much of the U.S. military operations in the Balkans in the 1990s, is now the president and chief executive of the McCormick Foundation, a Chicago-based charity.

Apparently, Grange doesn’t really see himself as a direct surrogate. He told the New York Times that he thought all those background sessions with Pentagon leaders were “just upfront information.”

But a Pentagon memo called them “message force multipliers.” The Defense Department often paid their travel expenses and hired a private defense contractor to monitor everything the analysts said in public.

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