Longtime military analyst William Arkin has stepped down from his role at NBC News with a scathing letter criticizing the current state of journalism as well as President Donald Trump.
Arkin, a U.S. Army veteran who has worked for NBC as a reporter and commentator over the course of three decades, wrote a 2,228-word internal memo obtained by CNN on Wednesday, declaring that the world and the current state of journalism have been in “tandem crisis.”
“My expertise, though seeming to be all the more central to the challenges and dangers we face, also seems to be less valued at the moment. And I find myself completely out of synch with the network, being neither a day-to-day reporter nor interested in the Trump circus,” Arkin wrote.
After summarizing his tenure at NBC, which included reporting on the Cold War and offering commentary in the aftermath of 9/11, he said the network and the rest of news media “could not keep up with the world,” especially in the era of social media.
He then went after the “political” reporting of the ongoing wars in recent years.
“Seeking refuge in its political horse race roots, NBC (and others) meanwhile report the story of war as one of Rumsfeld vs. the Generals, as Wolfowitz vs. Shinseki, as the CIA vs. Cheney, as the bad torturers vs. the more refined, about the number of troops and number of deaths, and even then Obama vs. the Congress, poor Obama couldn’t close Guantanamo or reduce nuclear weapons or stand up to Putin because it was just so difficult,” Arkin elaborated. “We have contributed to turning the world national security into this sort of political story. I find it disheartening that we do not report the failures of the generals and national security leaders. I find it shocking that we essentially condone continued American bumbling in the Middle East and now Africa through our ho-hum reporting.”
Arkin went on to accuse NBC and much of the news media of becoming a “defender of Washington and the system” and how his network’s reporting shifted after the 2016 election.
“I thought that the mission was to break through the machine of perpetual war acceptance and conventional wisdom to challenge Hillary Clinton’s hawkishness. It was also an interesting moment at NBC because everyone was looking over their shoulder at Vice and other upstarts creeping up on the mainstream,” Arkin continued. “But then Trump got elected and investigations got sucked into the tweeting vortex, increasingly lost in a directionless adrenaline rush, the national security and political version of leading the broadcast with every snow storm. And I would assert that in many ways NBC just began emulating the national security state itself- busy and profitable. No wars won but the ball is kept in play.”
NBC News has not responded to Fox News’ request for comment.
The military analyst insisted that under Trump, the “national security establishment” has “gained dangerous strength” and that NBC has become “somewhat lost in its own verve, proxies of boring moderation and conventional wisdom, defender of the government against Trump, cheerleading for open and subtle threat mongering, in love with procedure and protocol over all else (including results).” He also claimed NBC and others “suffer from a very bad case of not being able to ever take a breath” amid the never-ending news cycles.
He added that despite his frustrations, his tenure at NBC was “gratifying.” He thanked various colleagues and his former boss, NBC News president Noah Oppenheim, and praised MSNBC president Phil Griffin.