Fox's Scales Attacks Sequestration Defense Cuts Without Disclosing Personal Financial Ties To Major Military Contractors
Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS
Fox News military analyst Maj. Gen. Robert Scales (ret.) has appeared on-air decrying sequestration-related defense spending cuts without disclosing that his consulting company generates profits from companies dependent on military spending.
In two separate February 13 appearances on Fox News, Scales attacked the possible defense cuts mandated by Congress' failure to pass deficit reduction legislation, but neglected to disclose that he is the co-founder of Colgen, which describes itself as "the latest and fastest growing defense consulting firms in the United States."
In his appearance on Fox & Friends, Scales said he was hoping that there would have been some statement in President Obama's State of the Union address "that sequestration wouldn't happen," and that it would be a "tragedy" if the cuts were triggered.
Later in the day, Scales appeared on Happening Now to reiterate his opposition to defense cuts, arguing that "these cuts couldn't happen at a worse time" and are "awful" and "misdirected." He also warned about the Pentagon "going after its budget with a meat axe."
In both appearances, Scales was identified by anchors and on-screen text as a Fox "military analyst" and no reference was made to his role with Colgen.
Both sides of the political aisle have opposed the sequestration cuts. Speaker John Boehner described them as "bad policy" while President Obama referred to them in his State of the Union address as "sudden, harsh, arbitrary cuts" that "would jeopardize our military readiness." Yet Fox chose to host someone, out of all the available voices, with a financial stake in the issue.
A report from Barr Group Aerospace, a consulting firm "dedicated to economic and industrial aerospace & defense market research," lists several Colgen clients among the top recipients of U.S. Department of Defense contracts for fiscal year 2012. These include Lockheed Martin with $29 billion in contracts, Boeing ($27 billion), Raytheon ($14 billion), General Dynamics ($13 billion), Northrup Grumman ($8.7 billion), SAIC ($5 billion), and Booz Allen Hamilton ($2.5 billion).
A Boeing executive has expressed concerns to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff about the sizeable impact sequestration cuts would have on their business.
Northrop Grumman sponsors a site called "Stop Sequestration" which claims that "these spending cuts would have a significant impact on the size and capability of the military and the defense industrial base." They are a Colgen client.
Lockheed Martin published a 2012 memo about their efforts to "raise awareness in Congress as to the devastating effects of sequestration." General Dynamics' chairman told investors in October that they "remain cautious given the unprecedented uncertainty in the coming months caused by the threat of sequestration."
The U.S. military itself, which would of course directly feel the effects of cuts, is represented on Colgen's client list. U.S. military groups listed as clients include the Army, Army National Guard, Marine Corps, Marine Corps Reserve, and the Navy among others.
Fox News is also listed as a "client" of Colgen's.
In an op-ed from Scales published in the Washington Post and syndicated to several other newspapers, a disclosure was added indicating that he "is president of the consulting firm Colgen." While this does not adequately detail possible conflicts in Scales' writing, it is at least more than Fox News chose to disclose.