HomeArticleReporter Quits NBC Citing Network’s Support For Endless War

Reporter Quits NBC Citing Network’s Support For Endless War

A journalist with NBC has resigned from the network with a statement which highlights the immense resistance that ostensibly liberal mass media outlets have to antiwar narratives, skepticism of US military agendas, and any movement in the opposite direction of endless military expansionism.

January 4 is my last day at NBC News and I’d like to say goodbye to my friends, hopefully not for good,” begins an email titled ‘My goodbye letter to NBC’ sent to various contacts by William M Arkin, an award-winning journalist who has been associated with the network for 30 years.

“This isn’t the first time I’ve left NBC, but this time the parting is more bittersweet, the world and the state of journalism in tandem crisis,” the email continues. “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.”

The lengthy email covers details about Arkin’s relationship with NBC and its staff, his opinions about the mainstream media’s refusal to adequately scrutinize and criticize the US war machine’s spectacular failures in the Middle East, how he “argued endlessly with MSNBC about all things national security for years”, the fact that his position as a civilian military analyst was unusual and “peculiar” in a media environment where that role is normally dominated by “THE GENERALS and former government officials,” and how he was “one of the few to report that there weren’t any WMD in Iraq” and remembers “fondly presenting that conclusion to an incredulous NBC editorial board.”

“A scholar at heart, I also found myself an often lone voice that was anti-nuclear and even anti-military, anti-military for me meaning opinionated but also highly knowledgeable, somewhat akin to a movie critic, loving my subject but also not shy about making judgements regarding the flops and the losers,” he writes.

Arkin makes clear that NBC is in no way the sole mass media offender in its refusal to question or criticize the normalization of endless warfare, but that he feels increasingly “out of sync” and “out of step” with the network’s unhesitating advancement of military interventionist narratives. He writes about how Robert Windrem, NBC News’ chief investigative producer, convinced him to join a new investigative unit in the early days of the 2016 presidential race. Arkin writes the following about his experience with the unit:

“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. 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.

 

“I’d argue that under Trump, the national security establishment not only hasn’t missed a beat but indeed has gained dangerous strength. Now it is ever more autonomous and practically impervious to criticism. I’d also argue, ever so gingerly, that NBC has become somewhat lost in its own verve, proxies of boring moderation and conventional wisdom, defender of the government against Trump, cheerleader for open and subtle threat mongering, in love with procedure and protocol over all else (including results). I accept that there’s a lot to report here, but I’m more worried about how much we are missing. Hence my desire to take a step back and think why so little changes with regard to America’s wars.”

Arkin is no fan of Trump, calling him “an ignorant and incompetent impostor,” but describes his shock at NBC’s reflexive opposition to the president’s “bumbling intuitions” to get along with Russia, to denuclearize North Korea, to get out of the Middle East, and his questioning of the US military’s involvement in Africa.

“I’m alarmed at how quick NBC is to mechanically argue the contrary, to be in favor of policies that just spell more conflict and more war. Really? We shouldn’t get out Syria? We shouldn’t go for the bold move of denuclearizing the Korean peninsula?  Even on Russia, though we should be concerned about the brittleness of our democracy that it is so vulnerable to manipulation, do we really yearn for the Cold War? And don’t even get me started with the FBI: What? We now lionize this historically destructive institution?”

“There’s a saying about consultants, that organizations hire them to hear exactly what they want to hear,” Arkin writes in the conclusion of his statement. ” I’m proud to say that NBC didn’t do that when it came to me.  Similarly I can say that I’m proud that I’m not guilty of giving my employers what they wanted. Still, the things this and most organizations fear most – variability, disturbance, difference – those things that are also the primary drivers of creativity – are not really the things that I see valued in the reporting ranks.”

That’s about as charitably as it could possibly be said by a skeptical tongue. Another way to say it would be that plutocrat-controlled and government-enmeshed media networks hire reporters to protect the warmongering oligarchic status quo upon which media-controlling plutocrats have built their respective kingdoms, and foster an environment which elevates those who promote establishment-friendly narratives while marginalizing and pressuring anyone who doesn’t. It’s absolutely bizarre that it should be unusual for there to be a civilian analyst of the US war machine’s behaviors in the mainstream media who is skeptical of its failed policies and nonstop bloodshed, and it’s a crime that such voices are barely holding on to the fringes of the media stage. Such analysts should be extremely normal and commonplace, not rare and made to feel as though they don’t belong.

Click here to read William M Arkin’s full email, republished with permission.

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Latest comments

  • This post is in response to from our earlier conversation – the thread ran its course.

    DRGB, “… you persist in proffering … your personal assumption that Mr. Arkin must have been in agreement with his employer’s positions while he maintained his platform at NBC.”

    No, I am saying the opposite. I am saying either 1) Mr Arkins knew they were liars but went to work for them anyways. (He is free to do so but do not expect me to think he has any integrity for doing so.) Or 2) If he did not know then he is incompetent for not being able to see the obvious for so long.

    May I ask how long it took you to realize that the MSM are lie factories? I figured it out decades ago even though I am not a sharp-eyed reporter.

    • “This post is in response to from our earlier conversation – the thread ran its course.”

      Correction please. This post is in response to DRGB from our earlier conversation – the thread ran its course.

    • You boast in your final entry below “Perhaps I am just GIFTED blah, blah, blah….”
      Wow, that’s it! You’ve discovered the ultimate answer! You are, as I surmised in my first reply, so damned smart!!! We should all be in awe of your immense powers of perspicacity!
      However, you have a tendency to slither away when challenged to present FACTS and fall back on the same old talking points, repeating them ad nauseum. I’m guessing you’re a current or former politician, b/c that’s their favorite tactic…
      tapdancing around questions without giving a straight answer. I’d bet your favorite color is plaid, right?

      • DRGB, what facts am I not providing? What questions am I tap dancing around? What question have you asked that I have not answered?!

        ““Perhaps I am just GIFTED…”

        Obviously you do not get sarcasm.

      • “I’d bet your favorite color is plaid, right?”

        Silly. Just plan silly.

        • Correction please: Silly. Just plain silly.

          Stupid fat fingers!

    • In your final entry below you boast: “Perhaps I am just GIFTED blah, blah, blah….”
      Wow, that’s it! You’ve discovered the ultimate answer! You are, as I surmised in my first reply, so damned smart!!! We should all be in awe of your immense powers of perspicacity!
      However, you have a tendency to slither away when challenged to present FACTS and fall back on the same old talking points, repeating them ad nauseum. I’m guessing you’re a current or former politician, b/c that’s their favorite tactic…
      tapdancing around questions without giving a straight answer. I’d bet your favorite color is plaid, right?

  • I don’t see how one could work for these globalist-controlled rags for 30 minutes, let alone 30 years. The truth of what they are about is apparent in every paragraph they publish and every story they cover. Its nice for something like this to get slightly into the public view, but working in support of your antiwar convictions for 30 years might have been even more productive.

  • Maybe it was Arkin’s convoluted language [Greenspan/Chomsky/Dylan] that was less than popular–but I do admire his convictions. I also understand the convoluted language–you’re not allowed to say it strait-up anymore in America–you might hurt someone’s feelings.

    I think an equally important issue is the ongoing “preventive” genocide of the white christian–which is directly linked to the war machine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wKIpdHhe7o [16 min]

    We need the pull the character who is behind global curtain out into the open–2019 will be all about transparency: Rage, rage before the dying of the light.

  • Since there are no major media networks that present the truth regarding American foreign policy, I think it would be a good move for One America News Network (OANN) to employ William Arkin. Sure wish my cable provider gave OANN as an option.

  • A sister channel of NBC is MSNBC, where some have been thinking the “MS” stands for Ms. Rachel Maddow. In 2013 she authored _Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power_—.a book deploring the US steady march towards perpetual war. When Trump ordered troop withdrawal from Syria, Maddow might have been expected to support him on that particular move, but instead came up with stuff to the effect that he was being irresponsible. Would it be sexism if Bernie suggested that in this instance the woman Maddow was weaker than the man Arkin?

  • It is clear to me that the US heading down the same road all of the empires have travelled but in our case the speed is greatly accelerated by the existence of the MSM and internet technology. We are pouring all our resources it to death and destruction as did the Romans, Ghengis, Alexander et al. We are no different except that we will meet out demise more quickly than past empires. Sad but clear to me that we are the same sad serfs who worked for the lords in the castles, making just enough to get by alive and give the emperor more gold to use to forge more weapons.

    As everything changes we remain the same, little insignificant humans marching to the drums of our lords.

  • The opposition of the Military, mainstream media, CNN and MSNBC and Pro -Kurd organizations in the United States, to the Trump move to withdraw from Syria is by far the most astounding and fearful fact of the Democratic and Republican regime in Washington.
    Unfortunately for many of us, we have trusted the anti- Trump impulses of these groups who supposedly represent ordinary citizens and look out for us. But, somehow these institutions in their narrow minded desire to get Trump out any cost even as Trump doers the right thing in Syria and even as the astounding Donald admits finally what should be the obvious: the USA never should have intervened in the Syrian Civil War in the first place, we lost the fight to get rid of the legal and elected government of Syria with President Assad at its head, and we should get out. Blindly supportive of any resistance to Trump and being part of the Never- Trump Party, the media, the Dems, and some Americans thunder for endless war in Syria even as the orange -haired beast demands an end to USA intervention and to bring the troops home now.
    Resistance to the President should be strong but based on the issues in which he is wrong of which there are plenty.On the issuesin which he is advancing a step toward peace in a world of endless US imperial wars, we should buck those who have become the party of anti-Trump and instead advocate for the public good no matter who is making it.

    • Sandra, a good take. Very reasonable. But that is the problem. How can one reason with people who willfully reject reason while vigorously embracing mindless hate?

  • as a regular Joe citizen, I feel very close to Mr. Arkin’s sentiments relative to the world we live in today. Many people – mostly in high places – on the gravy train bandwagon. No vision, no strategy, no direction, no accountability. leadership? nowhere in sight. Behind the curtains they’re all in cahoots, dems and repubs alike. Not exactly inspiring and certainly it does not bode well for our nation. If Trump – with all his antics and boorishness – can get us out of this quagmire to set the table for something new, I’m all for it, he’ll have my support.

  • This just In… “War Is A Racket”.

  • There should be a suitable opening at the White House.
    Unfortunately in this environment if you want to live the life to which you have become accustomed you will play the tune the master wants to hear.

  • Sharp as a tack this William Arkin guy is. Took this expert reporter only thirty years to figure out he worked at a lie factory. Shocked he is to discover what everyone with two eyes, two ears, and at least two brain cells could easily see for all those years. None so blind…

    • What an asinine comment! Here’s a guy who’s worked to uphold high standards of journalism coming forth to expose to America the intentions of the lamestream media and you attempt to criticize him. Why don’t you tell us YOUR website so we can review your brain droppings, since you’re so damned smart?

      • It does seem kind of curious that, after decades of working in the mainstream media, he has only just now become aware of the lying and propagandizing in favor of war and imperialism and other interests of the plutocracy. I’d like to hear his story of those years — how did he do it?

        • With few exceptions our media has always been pro-war, and pro-federal power. They saw how easy it was to dupe Americans into the Spanish-American war so then they went for a couple world wars. Perhaps this writer suddenly had an epiphany, but I’ll take what I can get.

      • DRGB, “…high standards of journalism…”

        ROTFLMAO! What is this “high standard” you speak of?! I would think that the only standard is to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Anything else is a deception, a lie. My high standards for journalism (and everything else) is if you lie to me once you are a liar. Integrity, despite the claims from the lefties, is vital.

        But how many times do you need to be lied to to realize you are being lied to by liars? Thirty years worth?

        If Mr. Arkin is such a sharp reporter with an eye for deception by the powerful why did it take him thirty years to see it while millions of us non-reporters were seeing it clearly all that time?

        “Why don’t you tell us YOUR website so we can review your brain droppings, since you’re so damned smart?”

        The ol’ “If you ain’t in that profession you cannot criticize it” silliness. By that same reasoning if you are not president then you cannot criticize the president.

        • INFOREBELSCUM, Re: Your “If you ain’t in that profession you cannot criticize it silliness” comment. Where did you find THAT implication in my remarks? Criticize all you want, but give us some FACTS. From reading Arkin’s biography it appears he’s had many significant accomplishments throughout his career, more so than most of the present-day journalists, who seem to be a dying breed. He’s been a cult of one in many of his pursuits and deserves recognition, not unsubstantiated scorn. When you’re done ROTFLYAO do us all a favor and read Arkin’s extensive bio before you open your piehole.

          • DRGB, “Where did you find THAT implication in my remarks?”

            From DRGB”s pie hole: “Why don’t you tell us YOUR website so we can review your brain droppings, since you’re so damned smart?”

            And why does one need to read Arkin’s bio to make the determination that he is not a great reporter since he himself admits it took him thirty years to finally see that the MSM are liars while millions of us non reporters could see it? Indeed, how does anyone not see it?!

            • It is said, “Only a fool argues with an idiot”, but I’m going to ignore that advice and respond to your latest droppings. If you failed to read Arkin’s bio, then you can have no appreciation for his accomplishments and are proceeding on your interpretation of the above email, which, by the way, was only a portion of the original. How long do you think he would’ve lasted had he opposed his lamestream employers at every turn? Among his many achievements were being the first to expose the fact there were no WMD in Iraq and being responsible for the discontinuation of the use of cluster bombs in warfare. He often opposed our military but his opinions were given respect. I disagree with his referring to the President as “an ignorant and incompetent impostor” but I’ve yet to find anyone with whom I agree 100%. How about reading the bio so you might manage a somewhat intelligent response?

              • DRGB, ah, the ol’ “if you do not agree with me you are an idiot” silly argument.

                Mr. Arkin may have done some good in the past but how does that erase the fact it took him thirty years to see what others could clearly see i.e. that the MSM are liars?

                “How long do you think he would’ve lasted had he opposed his lamestream employers at every turn?”

                Sounds like a guy with no integrity if he won’t stand up for truth just to keep his paycheck – and the lies – coming.

                • Do all your criticisms include the words “silly” or “silliness” ? And you keep repeating the same “thirty years” comeback without presenting any FACTS in support of your argument. That tells me you STILL haven’t read Mr. Arkin’s extensive biography. Like I said, how long would he have lasted had he come out swinging? How many credible journalists are given any exposure on the major networks? Sheryll Atkisson is the only one that comes to my mind. If you think you could accomplish what Arkin has with your mindset why don’t you try it? You could be getting paid for being embarrassed. If you’re going to criticize Mr. Arkin how about sharing with us some examples where he’s purposely misled his readers, as is the common practice today of the MSM? Pony up, Mr. Silly.

                  • DRGB, I am forced to describe silly arguments as silly because they are just that – silly. There is no rational thought behind them.
                    What “fact” do you not understand in my argument that it took Mr. Akins, who claims to be a sharp eyed reporter, thirty years to see the obvious while millions of us non-sharp eyed reporters could see it clearly? What part of that fact do you dispute? Why do I need to read Mr. Akins bio to point out this simple fact?

                    “If you’re going to criticize Mr. Arkin how about sharing with us some examples where he’s purposely misled his readers…”

                    A straw man argument. I never said Mr. Akins misled his readers. So another silly argument.

                    “…how long would he have lasted had he come out swinging? How many credible journalists are given any exposure on the major networks?”

                    Do you mean he was justified for not swinging for the truth and going along with lies? Oh wait, he claims he did not realize for thirty years that they were lies. So which is it – either he was too incompetent to see the lies or he knew they were lies and just went along with them to get along with his career. He is either a fool or a deceiver with no integrity.

                    • Mr. Silly, you still don’t get it, do you?!
                      The only “FACT”
                      that you persist in proffering is your personal assumption that Mr. Arkin must have been in agreement with his employer’s positions while he maintained his platform at NBC.Do you agree that Sheryll Atkisson is one of the few true journalists on today’s MSM? If so, should she give up her opportunity to reach out via ABC b/c she disagr ees with the positions they take on most everything? You don’t NEED to read Arkin’s bio. Just keep repeating the same baseless assertions and I’ll keep calling you out on it.

                    • DRGB, “…your personal assumption that Mr. Arkin must have been in agreement with his employer’s positions while he maintained his platform at NBC.”

                      No, I am saying the opposite. I am saying he was not in agreement with the liars at NBC but he went to work for them anyways. Which is his choice but do not expect me to think the man has integrity.

                      My specific argument against Mr. Akins is simply this: he either knew he was working for liars or he was too stupid to know he was working for liars.

                      May I ask how long did it take you to figure out that the MSM are liars? Perhaps I am just gifted because I could see the obvious lies and distortions decades ago.

  • Chris Hedges 2002 book: “War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning” is so apparent in today’s America.
    I needed a reality check when I first heard nearly all Senators and Congressmen/women condemn the decision to pull troops out of Syria, along with mainstream media’s propagandistic screeds about how this move would endanger America’s National Security. This, to my way of thinking, was sheer insanity!
    Then I found Caitlin’s post confirming my feelings that we should have never entered Syria in the first place, and I took solace that I wasn’t alone in my thoughts that we have no legitimate reason to be waging war in any country other than to pour more money into our overbloated military industrial complex.
    Arkin’s decision is a rare display of integrity and humanity in this sick society that is fear driven by a fascist media.
    Thank you Caitlin for posting this, and for serving as a beacon of hope and sanity in this country gone mad.

  • I love this man!

  • Well done, Mr Arkin, I hope he finds work soon with reputable organisation.

    He apparently has some catching up to do, though. He writes, ‘Even on Russia, though we should be concerned about the brittleness of our democracy that it is so vulnerable to manipulation …’ Now that he probably has time on his hands, when he reads up on the ‘manipulation’ of US democracy he’ll be pleased to know that there’s zero evidence that Russia (or almost any other country) manipulated anything.

    • There is substantial evidence that you choose to ignore.

      • Like what? If the evidence is so “substantial”, I’m sure you can provide many examples.

      • All links welcome and will be read. Thanks in advance.

      • You forgot to include your final sentence, being :
        “Just you wait till Mueller pulishes his report.”
        /s

    • I think he probably meant that if Russia could subvert American democracy (with, apparently, about 5 grand worth of google ads), then America doesn’t have much of a democracy. Which I consider a given, pretty much.

      • Newsflash: The U.S. has never been a democracy – but is drifting further and further away these days.

      • “One cannot observe democracy objectively without being impressed by its curious distrust of itself—it’s apparent ineradicable tendency to abandon its philosophy at the first sign of strain. I need not point to what invariably happens in democratic states when the national safety is menaced. All the great tribunes of democracy, on such occasions, convert themselves into instant despots of an almost fabulous ferocity.” H.L. Mencken

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