A recent study has revealed that a staggering 85% of media quotes on US military involvement come from individuals who are paid by the defense industry. These experts, often with titles that lend credibility to their opinions, are associated with various think tanks and academic institutions that shape public opinion in favor of perpetuating conflict in Ukraine. Unbeknownst to many, these think tanks are not the impartial centers of intellectual integrity that their names suggest, but instead, serve as vehicles for promoting the interests of discreet special interests.
This practice of using experts to advance a particular agenda is not new. During the Iraq War, retired generals were guided by the Pentagon to make appearances on TV and radio shows as “military analysts” to support the Bush administration’s objectives in the Persian Gulf. It was a blatant attempt to manipulate public opinion and promote war without any concern for an exit strategy. These analysts were essentially puppets, with strings attached to the military-industrial complex that profited from the war.
Today, the tactics have evolved. The retired generals have been replaced by experts with academic credentials associated with think tanks. These experts are carefully selected based on their political alignment with the organization’s agenda. They are expected to promote certain talking points and views, or risk being fired or leaving the organization. These think tanks are often funded by wealthy individuals who have a vested interest in shaping the establishment narrative to benefit their own business or investment interests. By funding these think tanks, these influential individuals can ensure that their agenda is promoted under the guise of expert credibility.
A study conducted in 2020 found that the top 50 think tanks received over a billion dollars from the US government and defense contractors, including those involved in weapons production for Ukraine. Some of the major recipients of this funding include the Atlantic Council, German Marshall Fund of the United States, Brookings Institution, Heritage Foundation, and RAND Corporation, among others. While some of these organizations have a clear ideological leaning, others are more diverse in their expertise. This diversity helps to blur the line between genuine analysis and parroting special interests.
An analysis of media coverage related to US military involvement in Ukraine revealed that 85% of the time, the cited think tanks had financial backing from the defense industry. This creates a sense of consensus among experts that US taxpayers should continue to support Ukraine with weapons, when in reality, it is a group of actors backed by the Pentagon pushing for the most profitable course of action on behalf of their benefactors. This lack of transparency is concerning, as it masks the influence of defense industry cash on the public’s perception of the conflict.
Furthermore, these think tank experts often attack alternative platforms, such as RT, as being “Russian-backed,” while conveniently neglecting to disclose their own organization’s financing. According to the Quincy Institute, around a third of top foreign policy think tanks do not disclose their Pentagon funding. This lack of transparency raises questions about the true motivations behind their opinions and the potential impact on policy decisions.
It is essential for voters and the general public to be aware of the hidden hand behind these think tanks and the experts they promote. Many of these individuals eventually transition into public office, where they can translate their agenda into actionable policy. By understanding their connections to the defense industry, voters can make more informed decisions about the individuals who shape our foreign policy.
In conclusion, the prevalence of defense industry-funded experts in media coverage of US military involvement is alarming. These individuals, associated with think tanks and academic institutions, shape public opinion in favor of continued conflict. The lack of transparency surrounding their funding and the agenda they promote raises questions about the true motives behind their opinions. It is crucial for the public to be aware of these connections and consider them when evaluating policy decisions and the individuals who influence them.