August 27th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Pentagon profiling U.S. reporters?

U.S. soldiers from the 1st Platoon Alpha 3-71 Cavalry and Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers walk up a hill to a school during a mission in the Baraki Barak district of Logar Province, Afghanistan on August 22.

U.S. soldiers from the 1st Platoon Alpha 3-71 Cavalry and Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers walk up a hill to a school during a mission in the Baraki Barak district of Logar Province, Afghanistan on August 22.

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

(CNN) - The Pentagon is profiling reporters covering the war in Afghanistan.

The newspaper "Stars and Stripes" reports that despite denials from the Pentagon, they are in fact rating the work of reporters as either "positive", "neutral" or "negative". They're contracting this work out to a private p.r. outfit called The Rendon Group, which has come under fire before for its work in the Iraq war.

Profiles of various reporters suggest these ratings are meant to help manipulate the kinds of stories that reporters come up with while they're embedded with troops. For example, one newspaper reporter is rated as "neutral to positive" in his coverage. The report suggests any negative stories he writes "could possibly be neutralized" by feeding him quotes from military brass.

Earlier this week, the Pentagon denied a story that appeared in "Stars and Stripes” saying "There is no policy that stipulates in any way that embedding should be based in any way on a person's work". Both the Defense Department and Rendon even denied a rating system exists.

Meanwhile, this latest revelation comes as polls show the war in Afghanistan is becoming less popular among the American people. Journalism groups and media ethicists are criticizing the Pentagon's efforts to rate and manipulate reporters. One military official says "it shows utter contempt for the Constitution." And contracting the work out to a civilian firm is even more odious.

Here’s my question to you: What does it mean that the Pentagon is profiling U.S. reporters?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 5 p.m. to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

Filed under: Pentagon
soundoff (129 Responses)
  1. Tom, Avon, Me, The Heart of Democracy

    that's disgusting. It reminds me of Pinochet. Say, "It ain't so," Jack.

    August 27, 2009 at 12:54 pm |
  2. Kevin in Dallas, TX

    It probably means that your credibility will soon be called into question, which is a good thing. The media keeps the government honest, but no one's been keeping you guys honest.

    August 27, 2009 at 1:04 pm |

    the same thing as the white house asking for those " funky emails" on the health care reform.

    August 27, 2009 at 1:05 pm |
  4. Tom, Bradenton, FL

    afriend of mine is in the US Army Jack and they monitor all his conversations with his family. Now profiling reporters is not a surprise to me. The Soviets did that too and we close of being Soviet, I think we already passed them in monitoring our people. Now I am in trouble, tommorrow the FBI will be at my door.

    August 27, 2009 at 1:06 pm |
  5. David Bebeau,Springfield Missouri

    It means that we have drifted to the outer limits of paranoia as we run our country into the ground.They simply don't want anyone to know what is going on.Such as 180 BILLION dollars worth of stuff and projects that they did not order and don't want but our do nothing serve self first congress makes them take it.Sounds crazy but its true.
    So they try to intimidate reporters.

    August 27, 2009 at 1:11 pm |
  6. John from Alabama

    Jack: It means the military is doing something wrong or they are checking reporters how who might be imbedded with American units in Afghanistan. There is nothing wrong with getting reporters who are sympathic to the military's position. Remember, the US military is run by civilians who sometimes have political agendas for themselves. As long as no laws are broken while they profile reporters it is okay.

    August 27, 2009 at 1:21 pm |
  7. Barbara from Coral Springs, Fl

    If the pentagon has run out of things of consequence to do then it is time to cut the budget.

    August 27, 2009 at 1:22 pm |
  8. Jason, Koloa HI

    It means big brother ain't your mother

    August 27, 2009 at 1:25 pm |
  9. Melissa

    It means you're getting what you deserve. Too many reporters find sensationalism more important than truth because sensationalism sells better. Too many hold money to be king.

    August 27, 2009 at 1:25 pm |
  10. Jenna

    What does it mean that the Pentagon is profiling U.S. reporters?

    Business as usual..

    Roseville CA

    August 27, 2009 at 1:31 pm |
  11. Jackie in Dallas

    Well, I guess it depends on HOW they are profiling them, Jack. If they are profiling them based on politics, race, gender, sexual preference, or religion, it's a bad thing. If they are profiling them based on accuracy, coverage, knowledge, and open-mindedness, that would be a good thing. Of the two, I'd guess, however, that it is the first instance or it wouldn't be a question for the Situation Room, would it?

    August 27, 2009 at 1:33 pm |
  12. Conor in Chicago

    To think that this tactic from the military is in anyway different than anything done since the Vietnam War is to be a little out of touch with reality.

    August 27, 2009 at 1:39 pm |
  13. Tina Tx

    It means the parnoia continues. The wasting of tax payers dollars continue. Why can't they get back to work? Someone needs to start firing those who are wasting my hard earned money and maybe some of this b.s would cease

    August 27, 2009 at 1:41 pm |
  14. Emden (Deep in the Heart of Hurst Texas)

    That General (President) Eisenhower's warning was right on point.
    The Pentagon needs to be dismanteled NOW
    control of all aspects of our military and intelligence groups returned to the Congress.

    August 27, 2009 at 1:44 pm |
  15. Russ in PA

    It means that the Pentagon, and Congress, and the White House, all need taken down several pegs. So pull out of all the wars, pull out of all the oversea bases, pull out of all binding agreements, and starting putting the house in order. Failure to recognize that the empire is over will just lead to more loss of life, liberty, and money.

    August 27, 2009 at 1:47 pm |
  16. Joe CE

    They are out of line. This should be discontued. Has Obama been questioned?

    August 27, 2009 at 1:50 pm |
  17. Fred R Deleon

    That's a real good question Jack. Let us know when you find out.

    August 27, 2009 at 2:00 pm |
  18. Paul Austin, Texas

    It means Jack that they have been doing it all along and just now are going public with it. You see our government does not trust anyone and doubts everyone's loyalty. They are most likely looking for someone that could find and talk to Bin Laden and then they could place a tracking chip in that person and find out where Bin Laden is.

    August 27, 2009 at 2:01 pm |
  19. Kerry Diehl

    Could it mean that there are those of the liberal media whose biased reporting is finally regarded as bordering on treason?

    August 27, 2009 at 2:03 pm |
  20. Ryan, Galesburg, IL

    It means that there is a war on freedom of information. We saw this with Bush's warrantless wiretapping crimes. We'll continue to see this until Americans demand that the Constitution remains the law of the land.

    August 27, 2009 at 2:05 pm |
  21. Jayne

    The people at the Pentagon must be very bored. The last time there was real reporting done in the United States it was Woodward and Bernstein over Watergate.

    August 27, 2009 at 2:07 pm |
  22. Randy from Salt Lake City

    It means that we're not getting any real facts from our wars of choice because the War Department will only employ reporters who toe the party line.

    August 27, 2009 at 2:08 pm |
  23. Richard McKinney, Texas

    Jack what it says to me is that the government wants influence over these reporters so they can mold and shape what they report. The sad thing in all of this is that the government refuses to deal in the truth with the American people. As long as there are no military secrets reported that would be detrimental to America or its allies the government should shut the hell up and let these people report as they deem fit. We do not need another president who wants to alter outcomes based on lies. Lets let the chips fall were they may. Who knows, in another 3 years a new Attorney General might be investigating this president.

    August 27, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  24. David in Raleigh, NC

    It's amazing that this happens under a democrat president and the media gives him a pass on the issue.

    If this had happened under GW Bush, the democrats and the media would be loudly complaining about this.

    The democrats and their media allies are such hypocrites.

    August 27, 2009 at 2:17 pm |
  25. Jack Carlson

    Perhaps some reporters are questionalble as to being Americans.
    I'm more concerned about ACLU revealing Lawyers to Terrorists to "get the murderers off"...then they can walk our streets Jack. Let them walk the streets of the far left Democrats families..that's fair.
    Jack C

    August 27, 2009 at 2:25 pm |
  26. Chuck Smith Brownstown, MI

    The Pentagon wants only happy thoughts in the news. No telling it like it is, in the war zone. All war....... all the time. Learn to love it.

    August 27, 2009 at 2:27 pm |
  27. JWC in Atlanta

    It means that reporters would do well to profile Pentagon officials in the event a game of hardball arises.

    August 27, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  28. Denis Duffy

    Wake up, Jack! It means business as usual. They have been doing this for over half a century. If the pentagon doesn't like what you say, they sure as hell aren't going to invite you to dinner. What a silly question. What cabbage leaf have you been hiding under?

    Upper Saint Clair, Pa.

    August 27, 2009 at 2:38 pm |
  29. roger

    It means they are probably looking for honest reporters, those who report the news without trying to create the news, and I hope they find him! The news media today is more interested in creating news that will raise ratings than in honest and accurate reporting.

    August 27, 2009 at 2:41 pm |
  30. Kerry Florida

    It just shows the degree of corruption and to what lengths they will go to cover it up...

    August 27, 2009 at 2:42 pm |
  31. Adam Simi Valley, CA

    It means they aren't satisfied with their pseudo-state run media currently in place. They want to take full control and begin cutting out those who write unflattering things about them. To see where this is headed look no further then our favorite South American neighbor Hugo Chavez and what he is doing to the Venezuelan media. Hope you keep your job Jack and don't have to "Elect for early retirement".

    August 27, 2009 at 2:48 pm |
  32. Jim/NC

    If this is true, this action smacks the constitution square in the mouth. Is it surprising? No! Deceit, manipulation and dishonesty permeates the government. All Americans are getting use to it.

    August 27, 2009 at 2:50 pm |
  33. Michael Odegard

    Even if the Pentagon is profiling some reporters, why should I care? Its not like the media actually does meaningful reporting, and even if it did, there isn’t a big enough audience for such news. Lets face it, the media is a puppet for its advertisers. The same companies that exported jobs to countries run by regimes with "values" this Country is supposed to be opposed to. Indeed, these companies dishonor those WWII soldiers who made their existence possible. They and their politicians and their media are destroying the USA. They are not essential to democracy or this country, so maybe it really is time the Pentagon puts some of their reporters on a black list.

    August 27, 2009 at 2:53 pm |
  34. Bizz, Quarryville, Pennsylvania

    Why in the hell would you want to take the time and money for to profile reporters when you have a large increase in activity by the enemy in Afghanistan and Iraq? They should be more concerned about what the enemy's next move will be instead of How a reporter will report. There are soldiers being killed in record numbers in Afghanistan that is something that cannot be sugar coated no matter who reports it.

    August 27, 2009 at 2:55 pm |
  35. bob brost

    The military needs to know which reporters are feeding the American public bs !
    We are a nation in the middle of a "hate" crisis and Jack, we have become an overly paranoid society. This obsession will selfness will bring us down.
    The infestation of paranoia is a product of the Bush/Cheney's politics of fear campaign.

    We need to re-invigorate "ethics and morality" ...starting with our leaders – from the top down.

    the other bob brost

    August 27, 2009 at 3:07 pm |
  36. Larry from Georgetown, Texas

    That the DOD is fearful that some reporters are giving out too much information that is helping our enemies and rightfully so as some do just that.

    August 27, 2009 at 3:08 pm |
  37. Janice from Collingswood NJ

    Pathetic isn't it?

    August 27, 2009 at 3:09 pm |
  38. Darren

    You mean like hushing up anyone speaking out about their wars of choice by putting their names on the terrorist watch list and pretending it's an alias of some known terrorist and making airport travel real cumbersome?

    August 27, 2009 at 3:15 pm |
  39. Remo, Beautiful downtown Pflugerville Texas

    Jack, it's simple, the truth hurts. The truth turned a country in Vietnam, maybe they're worried about our current almost decade long involvement.

    August 27, 2009 at 3:16 pm |
  40. g ontario

    it means cheney still has power

    August 27, 2009 at 3:16 pm |
  41. Richard Sternagel

    It means Pentagon doesn't want investigative reporters to report on their deeds or misdeeds. The President and the Department of Justice needs to out law this practice if true. Enough of these government agencies being a hidden entity.

    August 27, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  42. Lynne Parker, North Augusta, SC

    It means the Obama administration has changed nothing.

    August 27, 2009 at 3:26 pm |
  43. Lisa in Shelton

    It means that the Stars and Stripes reporters are not experiencing the same freedom of the press, that they're fighting for abroad. The troops aren't typically allowed to criticize our commander in chief either – no freedom of speech.

    August 27, 2009 at 3:28 pm |
  44. Terry, Chandler AZ

    It means that there is no change in the status quo. Think back 40+ years to Viet Nam and all conflicts between 'Nam and now. This has been going on for a long time and will continue as long as the media continues to report on war. Here is a novel idea: If we had no wars we would not be discussing how the government does or does not control news reports.

    August 27, 2009 at 3:29 pm |
  45. Dale Portland, ME.

    It shows how Image has to be a carefully crafted work of fiction. Sort of like how supermodels pictures are airbrushed before publication. When I read a reporters story I know that I'm getting a different shade of gray but it is still up to me to sort out fact from opinion. It is absolutely wrong for the pentagon to be taking part in profiling and I am perturbed that our tax dollars are funding such a program! It is also an insult to the publics ( those who read ) ability to discern the truth.

    August 27, 2009 at 3:29 pm |
  46. Steven V.

    What possible motives might the DoD have for profiling US reporters?
    Pres. Eisenhower warned us against the US military industrial complex taking over our liberties and democratic processes. Whatever the DoD's reasoning may be, the people must remember this: they must not fear their governments – governments should fear them because the people are their ultimate authority.

    Steven V.
    Pensacola, FL

    August 27, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  47. george

    They are trying to understand why that the pen is mighter than the sword. Not like they have a war to fight or anything really important, just something else to be a waste of money to the taxpayer. Oh, there is a war to fight?

    August 27, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
  48. Irv Lilley

    Jack , I t means that the military is still under the sway of Dick
    Cheney's obession for controlling the country. and any one that would oppose him.

    August 27, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  49. Brian


    What this means is that the military is acting more like a corporation with an overhead and a profit margin than they are acting like protectors of the American people. We're paying them billions of dollars every year so they can spend it on spin campaigns and turn right around and lie to our faces about the progress they may or may not be making.

    Frankly I'm sick of the military hiding behind "support the troops" bumper stickers and gun-toting politicians who would never second-guess the almighty military. It's time for someone to step up and end the gravy train that our military has become.

    Boise, ID

    August 27, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  50. STAN - IL.

    This sounds like something that the GOP started during the Bush years. Maybe the pentagon knows something that we don't.

    August 27, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  51. Meg from Troy, Ohio

    I think that it means that the Pentagon knows that there is not much support among the American people for continuing this war. I know that I really don't want any more American lives spent in this futile attempt. I want our troops to come home so that we can spend all of our resources to improve our domestic problems. I don't think that more positive news stories from Afghanistan will change my mind. The Pentagon's profiling is a waste of time and money.

    August 27, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  52. Jeff

    Sounds to me like Nixon's little black book part two. Perhaps the journalists classified as having "negative" things to say about the military should avoid all getting on the same plane next time they come home.

    isla vista, ca

    August 27, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  53. Larry from Georgetown, Texas

    This reminds me of "war" where propaganda was flooded to the American public to keep it going for no other reason than "our economy". That so called war was Viet Nam which went on and on, just like this one. If we knew the truth and the DOD didn't block the so called negative reports this mess would come to an end and soon, as it should.

    August 27, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  54. Denny from Tacoma, WA

    Unfortunately it is an effort to control the press. On the one hand it would eliminate those reporters who tend to be sensationalists and on the other it may tend to compromise the reality of a given situation or event.

    August 27, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  55. Ed from California

    The military was diverted from the task at hand in 2001, remember, capturing or killing Osama Bin Laden. It wasn't the armed services fault that Bush had them do something else, like, attack another country.
    Now that our military is back on task and were all questioning, why, are we there?, and what happened to Bin Laden?
    The military in order to be successful it needs participants, soldiers. It needs a lot of them. But, with two wars, on two fronts it's a difficult situation for our military and for us at home, to have a successful outcome. Our military doesn't have enough bodies to fight one war, yet alone two at once.
    I don't want to see our kids killed for any reason. And this is where accurate reporting has to come in. We all have to remember with the lack of concentrated military presence in Afghanistan, it's like we have just begun all over again.
    If we are going to continue this fight, and have a complete accounting of this effort we need "honest" reporters, and not those reporters who were reporting on the health care issue.

    August 27, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  56. shawnboles

    "The very word "secrecy" is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings. For we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence—on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice. It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations. Its preparations are concealed, not published. Its mistakes are buried, not headlined. Its dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned, no rumor is printed, no secret is revealed. That is why the Athenian lawmaker Solon decreed it a crime for any citizen to shrink from controversy. I am asking your help in the tremendous task of informing and alerting the American people, confident that with your help man will be what he was born to be: free and independent."

    August 27, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  57. Mark

    What it means is that we no longer have a free press. This is ridiculous!

    August 27, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  58. Tom from Philly

    well it was the slimy sleasy reporter that accepted that deal instead of reporting it that allowed it to happen.

    I hate you reporters even more than the government. Why isnt this being dubbed the obama stimulus rally??????????????????????

    August 27, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  59. Jason Keston

    I sure am glad we voted for "Change" in this country. So far, after hearing things like this, I don't see much change yet. I should have voted for McCain. At least then we would know what we were getting.

    August 27, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  60. Jim


    There's a difference between labeling reporters as "friend" or "foe" and attempting some sort of strong-arm censorship. Every large entity that is subject to scrutiny by the press will at least notice which reporters and media outlets tend to be sympathetic, and which tend the other way. Trying to make it easier for the friendly ones to get information is hardly new or surprising. Look at Fox News during the Bush-Cheney years. It's a reporter's job to dig for information, easy or not. Strong-arming, on the other hand, whether by falsely classifying information, editing it, or by some other means, would be a different and frightening turn, one deserving of CNN air time.

    Reno, Nevada

    August 27, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  61. Paul from Phoenix

    I guess the Obama Administration is taking notes from the Bush Administration. So much for the promise of total transparency.

    August 27, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  62. GWTripp

    It means that the Pentagon has learned its lesson from the Vietnam War. There's no way they'd let a reporter like Dan Rather in the front lines. Nor will they allow reporters to cover the returning dead. The real cost of the war is being hidden just as well by Obama as it had been by Bush. So much for change.

    August 27, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  63. Floyd Vahalik


    I think what people would like to see is the type of reporting they saw in Vietnam. Live feeds up close and personal, with the reporter in harm's way. Not hiding in an armored vehicle with people telling him what he is seeing.

    On the other hand, we send these men to do our fighting, and then we want to Monday quarterback their every move. We send them out to kill and destroy, and we want to tell them who, what, and how. The military is having to look over their shoulder every time they fire, and that puts them at a distinct advantage.

    I would rather see no coverage and a quick end to the war with an unhampered military. If the media was only there at a distance, they would be hard to manipulate.


    Ammon, ID

    August 27, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  64. Jay

    Typical filtering of information so that the US citizens remain in the dark about the truth.

    August 27, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  65. Jay in Texas

    It means that our government only wants the American public to see their side of the story while censoring any reporters who accurately report what is happening there.
    Brownwood, Texas

    August 27, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  66. Sonora, DC

    Unacceptable – the Penatgon is trying to frame the picture and message that is shared in the US. AWFUL

    August 27, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  67. Billy Gibbons

    And it "should be of no surprise that CNN does exactly the same thing by profiling political party candidates. So what is your beef that others do it too?

    August 27, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  68. Marc from San Diego

    That's alright, everyone knows that the constitution doesn't apply the the pentagon, anyone with power, the wealthy, the CIA, and the former Bush administration. God Bless America.

    August 27, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  69. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    What's the issue? If anyone was talking to a reporter about anything, you'd want to know ahead of time what kind of spin they would put on it. despite the MSM's claim to impartiality, very few reporters are really impartial.

    August 27, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  70. Jef

    Jack: I means we have new players but in the end its "the same old, same old"; nothing changes!

    August 27, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  71. Mikey J.

    Maybe if the media would only stick to the facts instead of reporting their skewed views on things the Pentagon wouldn't have to take into account things like this. For example, just take a look at the reports over the years from the war; they always report in detail the number of casualties for the coalition forces and the civilians, but you never hear about how many enemy were killed. Most reporters, but not all are like vulchers just waiting for something bad to happen so they can be the first to broadcast it to the rest of the world. They should probably take a lesson from their earlier counter parts from the WWII era. Semper Fi.

    -Michael (Alexandria, VA)

    August 27, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  72. earl

    While there's certainly a controversial aspect to this practice, the last thing a combat unit needs is the distraction of a reporter hostile to their mission.

    August 27, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  73. JohnW

    SO.. who cares... as a veteran I am being classified as a person of interest so I think it is good that the media gets in on the act of being watched by big brother...

    August 27, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  74. Johnny from DC

    The Pentagon should profile reports. Somebody has to keep our soldiers safe - why should they provide ammunition for random journalists to slander and undermine our efforts in already-hostile environments?

    August 27, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  75. tcaudilllg

    It means that there are still insane people working in our military, and they need to be weeded out.

    August 27, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  76. Barry Wantagh NY

    It means that the Pentagon does not want fair and accurate reporting of their people.

    August 27, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  77. Andrew

    It means that there is still an element of the Bush/Neo-Con philosophy existing in the Pentagon. It will take longer than 8 months to purge that sludge from the system, we can only hope that it does happen and soon. It would be interesting to see who owns the private firm that got the contract.

    August 27, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  78. Dan McCarley

    It doesn't mean much. Propaganda has always been around.

    That said, we do need to curb the increasing privatization of military that was started under Cheney's when he was Bush 41's Secretary of Defense (And before he left for Haliburton to take advantage of the policies he pushed through). Profit motive should not factor into our military decisions. I fear that profit motive factors into our decisions with Iraq and Afghanistan more than most realize, or would even be comfortable with. War profiteering may be very profitable for a few, but it is a net loss for most.

    August 27, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  79. Lan Truong

    This is insane.

    August 27, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  80. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    Whoever is authorizing this should be tried and sent to prison, what gives the military the right to go after an american reporter.

    August 27, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  81. Mike from Denver

    Bias media, it is a reality. People will always try to control the flow of information so that they appear in the best light possible. The only difference is how they do it, and whether or not they get caught.

    August 27, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  82. ShellyNM

    The news rooms were full of retired military officers offering commentary on the Iraq war while these officers were currently paid staff for defense contractors who would profit from the war. So what's new! The retired officers who were offering commentary were part of a special defense department project where they were offered special briefings and sometimes information that would help their companies win contracts. Doesn't anyone remember? The defense contractors then help politicians by making campaign contributions while the taxpayers foot the bill for the wars. Round and round we go, it all works out when few people know.

    August 27, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  83. Andrea Brinkley in Raleigh, NC


    This is the one thing that scares me most about war. What if our military leaders and top government officials don't report the facts, or skew them to "protect" us? How are we supposed to know, being across the world, what goes on in Iraq or Afghanistan? We rely on selfless journalists to get information for us, and to have their work...censored...is a violation of their right to free speech. Now I understand if certain pieces of information might put our troops in danger, but a journalist would know better than to report a unit's position in the Afghani mountains, for example. The Pentagon does not have the right, even in the name of national security, to categorize journalists based on their approval or disapproval of the wars. Interesting story!

    August 27, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  84. mark

    Jack – that's so Bush administration...haven't you heard, things have CHANGED.

    August 27, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  85. Sean

    Shouldn't the question be "What does it mean that the Pentagon MIGHT be profiling U.S. reporters?"

    No where in your report are any facts or sources supporting that they are doing that.

    "The newspaper “Stars and Stripes” reports that despite denials from the Pentagon, they are in fact rating the work of reporters "

    A newpapers "report" does not "in fact" mean anything.

    Doesn't suprise me to find stuff like this on CNN, but it does suprise me that Jack posted it.

    August 27, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  86. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    It means they have to learn to communicate better.

    August 27, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  87. HD in Phoenix, AZ

    It means that we will see only what the current Presidential administration wants us to see. This manipulative tactic was used a lot during the Bush administration to make America think that we were somehow welcomed as liberators during the overthrow of Sadaam Husseinn. It is not much different then FOX network which serves as a puppet to do the bidding of the GOP and right wing extremists who represent the worst of what America has to offer. And you know that sad part about all this...most Americans are actually dumb enough to believe what they see and read without question.

    HD in Phoenix, AZ

    August 27, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  88. Francis

    This can't be, Obama's Pentagon doing something like this? How dare you.

    August 27, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  89. Fenarkleman

    Yeah, the Pentagon may be profiling reporters. This is the kind of "freedom" Dick Cheney wants for America. Well, for people he considers to be American, anyway. Isn't this what the First Amendment is all about? Isn't all of this talk of American journalism being under attack a bunch of balderdash? Well, maybe not.

    August 27, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  90. Clittoria Mickeal

    Starting to sound and act more like the old Soviet Union , China along with all rouge countries

    August 27, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  91. Alex

    It's ironic that the media is accusing the Pentagon of showing "utter contempt" for the constitution. Journalism is no longer about objective reporting, it's about putting up headlines that will get the most "clicks". The military knows that the only news that gets reported is the bad news, and they are doing their best to mitigate that because it skews the public perception of the war and it hurts troop moral. I can't remember the last time I saw a story on CNN about the rebuilding efforts the troops are undertaking in Afghanistan, or how their new ROE has essentially eliminated collateral damage. The only stories that make headlines are the ones where soldiers get killed or the ones when soldiers kill civilians. Good for the Pentagon for taking a stand against this kind of crap, because the American people can no longer depend on their media to give them the WHOLE story...ever.

    August 27, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  92. Jim

    What goes around comes around. The liberal media sure does profile anybody that disagrees with the President.

    August 27, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  93. John

    This means you guys are being stereotyped for one reason or another, that has given the government suspicion of certain newsreporters.
    Pampa, TX

    August 27, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  94. Wilhelm von Nord Bock

    means this war is looking more and more like a Vietnam in the sand. the military tried to suppress any bad news in that war too. I knew this was happening when I read an article where our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq were not allowed to post on sites like Facebook or MySpace.

    as a Vietnam era veteran I'm not the least bit suprised.

    August 27, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  95. Brian

    It means they don't want us to know the truth. What else is new? Does "Jessica Lynch" ring any bells? They got you guys pretty good with that one...

    August 27, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  96. Eric

    I think it is critical to secure operations that these reporters be scrutinized. I understand the value of getting the truth out, but you know what .. some people just aren't likable and can be real jerks hiding behind their press badge. Why would a battalion want an A-hole with them? The press is lucky to even have an opportunity to be in close combat with our troops. I'm just saying that it's hard enough to have to work through issues with your fellow troops, but if you've got someone out there that no one likes or who could compromise a mission, it only makes it harder for our boys to do what their job.

    Oh yeah... everyone gets screened, all federal employees. I'm an engineer (born and raised in the USA) for the DoD and guess what... I had to go through the whole clearance process. So if everyone else with access to DoD operations has to be cleared, then so should reporters.

    August 27, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  97. Chris Curnick

    Hasn't anyone noticed that the Government has been doing these things for years? I am not a conspiricist but constant signs of Government manipulation of anything fed truthfully to the people has made me certainly curious. We do not have the rights we were intended to have. Big Government, fueled by both Democrats and Republicans, is not limited to economic policies.

    "Free press" is not valued by the Pentagon and others in Washington. They're using some dangerously skewed philosphy to shelter the American people and create a country even more filled with ignorance.

    August 27, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  98. Chris

    It would be naive for the Pentagon *not* to profile journalists, some of whom make a living tearing our country's reputation to shreds. I don't believe that our Pentagon is stupid enough not to profile journalists. Therefore, it strikes me as silly that they try to deny that they do this, and all the faux outrage by journalists in response strikes me as equally calculated and unbelievable.

    August 27, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  99. John Doe

    The rating system this story references is a rating based on the slant of the story and has absolutely zero to do with the reporter. The story is read and given a rating and it doesn't matter who writes it. I am an active duty public affairs office that has worked with Rendon on this rating system and Stars and Stripes is absolutely incorrect. No reporters are ever profiled and I've been doing this job for quite some time now.

    August 27, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  100. John K.

    Although I deeply respect and value the first ammendment here in the US, I don't believe reporters have a "right" to be embedded with soldiers on the front line. I prefer my brother in Afghanistan not have to worry or protect reporters writing negative reviews while he is in Afghanistan trying to get the job done while coming home safe.

    Brooklyn, NY

    August 27, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  101. Matt

    Maybe it means that reporters should try straight reporting instead of manipulating the news to fit their own bias.

    Chambersburg, PA

    August 27, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  102. Rob

    The Pentagon profiling reporters, means our next stop is Iran. What is this, Burma, China, Cuba or Russia or any other country which restricts news coverage and free speech?

    August 27, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  103. Adam

    Of course they are profiling reporters. Is anyone really surprised by this? When the President gives a speech the room is handpicked. The "random" questions written by Presidential staffers beforehand, the random "real" people are plants. Evidence of this is overwhelming.

    We the People do not trust them the government.

    August 27, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  104. Russ

    Russ in Stillwater, Oklahoma

    I myself am a TV reporter for a public station in Oklahoma. I whole heartedly believe that like the separation of church and state, American freedom and democracy will only work if the media is free from government influence. I believe it is the responsibility of the media to constantly question and challenge our government and keep them honest. The media should be rating the government not the other way around

    August 27, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  105. Steve

    Good idea to profile the reporters. Most of them are anti- military & anti -American. This was shown in the Vietnam war and in Iraq.
    I remember Dan Rather on CBS news, made a big deal when the first casualty happenned in Iraq, but at the same time we had 5 murdered in Chicago, 4 murdered in Los Angeles with no mention of of the crimes in the states. It was safer in Iraq than here. The news media just drum beat the numbers to make Bush look bad. The Vietnam war could have been won, but the press would not let it.
    I guess Obama is a little smarter. He'll muzzle the reporters, about time somebody did it. The press is getting too powerful and arrogant. They think they run country and not the government. It wouldn't be too bad if the reporters were fair and unbiased.
    My father told me when I was young, "you will believe the press when you're young, but when you get older you need to be very cautious. Don't believe what you read in the paper." Now I know what he was talking about. You get smarter as you get older.

    August 27, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  106. Dan from Virginia Beach

    Having been embedded with the Military in Iraq for over a year, I know that this profiling occurred whenever a news reporter came to our Forward Operating Base. Personnel were told which reporters were friendly to the military and which ones were not. And is probably happening in Afghanistan.

    August 27, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  107. lee

    It means this adminstration wants to control the news, very scary.

    August 27, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  108. greg in savannah

    It is probably the test site for the Diversity Czar. You have to categorize people's work before you decide whom to silence.

    August 27, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  109. Ricky

    Don't be naive. If the Pentagon wasn't profiling reporters, it wouldn't be doing its job. Like it or not, controlling information is a part of war.

    August 27, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  110. Jim

    Obama needs to step down!

    August 27, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  111. Tracy

    It means the Pentagon is tired of you so-called reporters, swaying the news to fit your agendas, as the did on their daily reporting in Iraq. Very rarely was there a story of the positive events in Iraq, only negative. I say bravo to the Pentagon! You "journalists" reap what you sow.

    August 27, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  112. Jerry

    It means business as usual for the pentagon. Just like we were never in Cambodia in 1968. But I know how to read a map and compass an I was NOT LOST. Vietnam Vet.

    August 27, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  113. Mary B

    And you wonder why people are talking facism......this administration wants to control every part of our lives....they do not want any truth to get out

    August 27, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  114. angel

    It mean that Obama is not going to lose the PR war in Aghanistan as Bush lost it in Iraq.
    In other words, Bush won the real war in Iraq but lost the war in America by letting the Media to portrait it as he was loosing it. However, Obama may lose the real war in Aghanistan, but he may win the war with the American people by not letting the Media to tell us how bad it really is.
    It is all about perception and semantics, isn't?

    August 27, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  115. Sally

    If the Pentagon is profiling the reporters who are imbedded with troops in the Middle East, it means that the White House is very likely profiling all reporters all over the country on all tdifferent ypes of issues. The freedom of the press is a thing of the past, especially given the example of ABC inviting the White House to basically take over its new department for "health care propaganda night" some weeks ago. The destination, I'm afraid, is jingoism supreme, and it won't just be aggression by the government against foreign countries, it will be governmental aggression against our own people. Bye-bye first amendment. Hello fascism.

    August 27, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  116. joyce toler dublin, ga

    Waste of TAXPAYERS MONEY any way you look at it. We must not make this Obamaministration look bad in nothing. Waste of my money. I am so sick of this Obamaministration. I want to vomit.

    August 27, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  117. Jerry, OKC

    Jack it is just like in Viet Nam or any other war. The US Goverment wants us to only hear the good and never the bad. If you want to the truth, talk to the troops on the ground yourself when you see them at the airport or at home on leave. Don't rely on the news.

    August 27, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  118. Frank

    Do as I say not as I do said Obama to the public. Bush Bad! Because he tied to manipulate the news. Obama good because he knows what we should know. So far I am amazed at just how much hypochrysy there is between the government in general, and democrats specifically, and the press. The 4th estate is not what it used to be when a reporter who is supposed to be objective can be categorized and manipulated.

    August 27, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  119. Kevin

    I don't have a problem with the system ... I have a problem with the Pentagon source that denies it exists. Looks like someone's going to lose their retirement.

    August 27, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  120. Jack

    What does it mean? It means that nothing has changed for embedded journalists or the Americans reading their polished accounts.

    August 27, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  121. Larry Portland, Oregon

    Any time government or its contractors seek to categorize named individuals it raises the spectre of intimidation. Intimidating some threatens the freedom of us all.

    August 27, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  122. Eric Ames

    Interesting! Its not quite censorship, or is it? What else can we contract out to people with less than scrupulous morals? First it was Military contractors to do our dirty work in Iraq and now its an independent firm that gets to decide on what we (US Citizens) get to hear and understand about our governments actions in another country.

    Atlanta, GA

    August 27, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  123. frank

    Sounds like residual orders from Cheney somehow got left in front of some generals desk.

    August 27, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  124. Phil

    It means that they are very worried about public opinion and if history repeats, as it did in the Vietnam era, public opinion will become the pentagon's number one enemy, over the Taliban.

    August 27, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  125. Ken F. , Spofford, NH

    Once again Jack, I'm amazed at the contempt in which you hold your readers. Why bait us? Because it makes good TV. Not because it's news. That makes you no different than Rush.

    ALL news is managed. We see, hear and read what YOU want us to.

    What motivates the media? It scares one to think. What's the difference between your boss and Rupert Murdock?

    If you're being managed (manipulated), shame on you.

    August 27, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  126. John Stuart

    It's about time. Some of the embedded journalists refused to write stories about the good that our troops were doing because of their left-minded liberal attitudes. We had to discover the good from the troops who actually sent their own emails, photos, and told the stories themselves.
    People read more blogs than newspapers these days because journalistic neutrality is virtually non-existent.

    August 27, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  127. M Clark

    Welcome to the club. Who aren't they profiling? Freedom in America means living in a gilded cage.

    August 27, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  128. fergel

    What it means Jack is that there is a semblance of truth to the fact that the goverment manipulates what we see and hear. Are you or anyone else just waking up to this fact. They have been doing this since the american revolution and the idea that government wants positive coverage to fuel their agenda means that we can confirm what any intelligent person should already know. DO NOT BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU HEAR! Especially from the government.

    August 27, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  129. ben stockton, calif

    like i said before, we have no business in afganistan. it a losing proposition there all were doing there is maiming and killingmore of our troops there bring them home , put them along the border keep the illegal drugs and illegals out and dont haul them int court if one of our troops happens to wound or kill an illegal drug smuggler, like they did with compeon and ramos

    August 27, 2009 at 9:53 pm |