Jack Keane

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  • Punditry On Syrian Airstrikes Is Encouraging Trump To Escalate Tensions With North Korea

    Similar Media Support Helped Enable Iraq War

    ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS

    After President Donald Trump launched airstrikes against Syria in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack in that country, media figures from across the political spectrum praised his “beautiful” attack, with many also linking the action to the growing threat that another country -- North Korea -- poses to the United States. Effusive media support of military conflict was a key precursor to the Iraq War; the danger of such uncritically hawkish commentary has multiplied under Trump, who sources policy ideas -- and defenses for his conduct -- directly from media.

  • Fox News Hides Syria Strike Supporter's Major Conflict Of Interest

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    Fox News has been hiding a major financial conflict of interest of one of its most frequent analysts on the United States’ missile strike against Syria.

    Fox News military analyst and retired U.S. Army Gen. Jack Keane has regularly appeared on the channel in the past several days to praise President Donald Trump for launching 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at an airbase that reportedly housed warplanes that carried out chemical attacks against civilians. But Fox and Keane have repeatedly failed to disclose that Keane is on the board of directors of General Dynamics -- an aerospace and defense company that develops technology for launching Tomahawk missiles.

    General Dynamics is a U.S.-based company that received roughly $19 billion in defense industry revenue in 2015. Keane has been on its board of directors since 2004 and, according to the company’s most recent proxy statement, received $257,884 in compensation (including “stock awards”) in 2016.

    According to Fortune writer Jen Wieczner, on the first day of trading following the strike on Syria, shares of defense industry stocks --  including General Dynamics -- collectively gained “nearly $5 billion in market value as soon as they began trading, even as the broader market fell.” She also noted that General Dynamics “makes technology used to fire Tomahawk missiles” and the company’s stock “is up 14%” since Trump was elected.

    General Dynamics has long ties to Raytheon, which “makes the Tomahawk missiles used in the air strikes on Syria by the United States.” General Dynamics stated in a 2010 press release that the company “has been producing the [composite capsule launch system] structures for Raytheon since the late 1980s.” According to the company’s ordnance and tactical systems business unit website, it manufactures “numerous critical metal components for the tomahawk missile program.”

    Keane has appeared on numerous Fox News programs to discuss Syria in the past several days without the network disclosing his financial conflict of interest.

    For instance, Keane appeared on the April 6 edition of Special Report with Bret Baier, during which he praised the U.S. military’s ability to use cruise missiles in a then-hypothetical strike, stating: “It would be standoff cruise missiles delivered from surface and subsurface ships. We would not have to fly a single airplane into Syria. We would not have to deal with Russian missile defense or Syrian missile defense.”

    Following the missile launch, he appeared on shows like Hannity, Fox & Friends, Shepard Smith Reporting, The First 100 Days, and America’s News HQ and praised President Trump for showing “strong, responsible, and moral leadership.”

    Keane’s biography on Fox News’ website also makes no mention of his ties to General Dynamics.

    In 2013, the Public Accountability Initiative criticized Keane and other military analysts for routinely failing to disclose their ties to defense contractors and other firms while discussing Syria. The nonprofit noted that Keane is also “a venture partner of SCP Partners, a defense-focused investment firm.” The Washington Post quoted then-Fox News executive vice president Michael Clemente stating of Keane: “We generally disclose contacts when our judgment is that it’s journalistically germane to the story.”

  • Obama Announces Plan To Close Guantanamo And Right-Wing Media Attack With Misinformation

    ››› ››› DAYANITA RAMESH

    President Obama on February 23 announced plans to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Right-wing media responded with misinformation, bringing up a debunked recidivism statistic, claiming that the prison is no longer used for propaganda or recruiting efforts, and saying the president is undermining Congress' concerns about housing detainees in facilities in the United States.

  • Media Hype Poll Showing Public Disapproval Of Iran Deal But Ignore Polls That Show Majority Support When Respondents Hear Details

    ››› ››› RACHEL CALVERT & NICK FERNANDEZ

    Media outlets are playing up the significance of a new poll that found a majority of Americans opposed to a deal recently signed by the U.S. and major world powers with Iran, believing it will make the world "less safe." But that poll gave respondents no information about the deal, while other more comprehensive polls have found  that when respondents are actually informed about the terms of the deal, a majority support it.

  • Right-Wing Media Push New Benghazi Myths Ahead Of Hearings

    ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI, JUSTIN BERRIER, HANNAH GROCH-BEGLEY, ELLIE SANDMEYER & ANDREW LAWRENCE

    Right-wing media are using a congressional hearing to push new myths about the Obama administration's response to the September 11, 2012 attacks on a U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya. In fact, these myths are discredited by previous congressional reports and testimony, which show that the politicized nature of the hearings come from right-wing media and Congressional Republicans, that the military could not have rescued personnel from the second attack, that the administration was in constant communication at all levels during the attacks, and that the intelligence community believed there was a link to an anti-Islam video at the time of the attacks.

  • Fox's Keane Falsely Argues Afghanistan Withdrawal Not Based On "Conditions On The Ground"

    Blog ››› ››› THOMAS BISHOP

    Fox News military analyst Jack Keane falsely claimed that President Obama's withdrawal timeline from Afghanistan was based on politics instead of reacting to the state of the conflict. In fact, military leadership has supported Obama's timeline as appropriate given the conditions on the ground.

    On the January 2 edition of Fox News' Happening Now, retired Gen. Jack Keane attacked Obama for the planned withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, claiming: "We made arbitrary withdrawal time schedules in Vietnam as we've done in Afghanistan. Not based on conditions on the ground." From the show:

  • Fox News Hides The Truth On Romney's "Apology Tour" Myth

    Blog ››› ››› ANDY NEWBOLD

    Fox News provided one-sided coverage to support Mitt Romney's debate claim that President Obama began his presidency with "an apology tour." The lie, which was  manufactured by Fox, has been debunked by fact-checkers and reporters numerous times, including repeated "pants on fire" ratings by PolitiFact.

    During the October 22 debate, Mitt Romney said that President Obama began his administration with "an apology tour of going to various nations in the Middle East and criticizing America," a claim he has used throughout his campaign. Romney went on to suggest that other countries saw this as a sign of weakness. During the October 23 edition of America's Newsroom, Fox highlighted the remarks and turned to Romney supporters John Bolton and Jack Keane to discuss the accusation. Fox News' one-sided analysis of Romney's claim lacked any mention of fact-checkers disputing the charge or even Obama's response to the attack during the debate. 

    Following Romney's claim during the debate, Obama called his remarks "the biggest whopper that's been told during the course of this campaign" and correctly pointed out that fact checkers and reporters have disagreed with Romney's claim.

    Fact-checkers have repeatedly debunked this claim in the past. More recently, a post today by CNN fact-checkers offered a similar explanation of Obama's comments saying:

    "Obama did indeed mention past U.S. flaws in speeches. But in those addresses, Obama never uttered an apology for the United States. Those statements were snippets, part of larger and grander narratives about repairing ties, building friendship and working together."

    During a October 23 broadcast on Bloomberg TV, chief Washington correspondent Peter Cook fact-checked Romney's claim and found that President Obama had not gone on "an apology tour" and that Romney "doesn't pass the fact-checking test here." An August 31 post on PolitiFact.com labeled Romney's claim "pants on fire." From the fact-check:

    [A] review of Obama's foreign travels and remarks during his early presidency showed no evidence to support such a blunt and disparaging claim. (In later years, we found two formal apologies, but they were not at the start of his presidency and not part of a tour.)

    While Obama's speeches contained some criticisms of past U.S. actions, he typically combined those passages with praise for the United States and its ideals, and he frequently mentioned how other countries had erred as well. We found not a single, full-throated apology in the bunch."

    Media Matters intern Brian Rabitz contributed to this post. 

  • For Debate Analysis, Fox News Leans On Former Bush Officials (And Herman Cain)

    Blog ››› ››› SIMON MALOY

    To help recap and analyze last night's presidential debate, Fox News' America's Newsroom trotted out a string of former Bush administration officials -- including Donald Rumsfeld and John Bolton -- to pile accolades on Mitt Romney's performance and attack President Obama. The Bush veterans were joined by several conservative commentators, Romney surrogates, and the occasional Democrat.

    Below is the list of non-reporter guests America's Newsroom featured this morning to comment on the debate, in order of appearance.

    Stephen F. Hayes: Weekly Standard columnist, Dick Cheney hagiographer, and chief chronicler of the (nonexistent) "operational relationship" between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.

    Stuart Varney: Fox Business Network host, jobs report conspiracy theorist, and Romney campaign messaging troubleshooter.

    Herman Cain: One-time Republican presidential candidate who probably knows where Libya is and boasts expertise on American-Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stani relations.

    John Bolton: Romney foreign policy advisor, George W. Bush's ambassador to the United Nations, and advocate of bombing Iran.

    Gen. Jack Keane: Romney supporter, rumored candidate for White House national security advisor under Romney, and "intellectual architect" of the 2007 Iraq "surge."

    Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH): Office of Management and Budget director under George W. Bush, Romney surrogate, and Romney's debate coach.

    Donald Rumsfeld: Secretary of Defense under George W. Bush who praised Romney's "terrific" speech at the Virginia Military Institute earlier this month.

    Gen. Wesley Clark: Former Democratic candidate for president and Obama campaign advisor.

    Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO): Romney surrogate.

    Bob Beckel: Democratic strategist and Fox News host.

    Andrea Tantaros: Republican strategist and Fox News host.

  • Fox's Failures In Covering The Iran Debate

    Blog ››› ››› MIKE BURNS

    Writing in Foreign Policy, Harvard University international affairs professor Stephen M. Walt listed his "Top Ten Media Failures in the 2012 Iran War Scare" and provides examples of media outlets that he believes are responsible for those failures. One other media outlet that quickly comes to mind as an example of extremely poor Iran coverage is Fox News.

    For some time now, Fox's coverage of the Iran debate has left much to be desired, and indeed, Fox has committed many of the "top ten media failures" that Walt identified.

    "#1 Mainstreaming the war." Walt wrote that media outlets repeatedly push the idea that "war is imminent, likely, inevitable, etc.," which could potentially "convince the public that it is going to happen sooner or later and it discourages people from looking for better alternatives." Fox has done this repeatedly. For example, Fox military analyst Jack Keane said on Happening Now: "I think it's inevitable" that the United States will have "some kind of conflict" with Iran. Regular Fox guest and former CIA official Michael Scheuer has likewise said that the U.S. is "going to war against the Iranians," and Fox News host Sean Hannity has even said that he thinks war with Iran "has already started."

    "#2: Loose talk about Iran's 'nuclear [weapons] program.' " Walt stated that a "recurring feature of Iran war coverage has been tendency to refer to Iran's 'nuclear weapons program' as if its existence were an established fact." Fox has done this too. During an appearance on America's Newsroom, Fox News national security analyst KT McFarland distorted comments by Secretary of Defense and former CIA director Leon Panetta to claim that "Iran will have a nuclear weapon in a year or sooner," co-host Martha MacCallum failed to point out that there are significant questions about whether Iran is planning to build nuclear weapons at all.

    Indeed, 2007 and 2011 National Intelligence Estimates found no conclusive evidence that Iran is even trying to build a bomb. And in January 31 testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper reiterated the fact that the U.S. intelligence committee does not have evidence to say that Iran is trying to build a bomb.