At least one reporter has the courage to take a stand against the anti-Trump frenzy among the networks. William Arkin resigned Jan. 4 from NBC and MSNBC. In a letter, Arkin describes his journey as a reporter and his reasons for leaving the media groups. “[T]the world and the state of journalism [is] in tandem crisis,” he wrote.
“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 started working for NBC 30 years ago writing Cold War stories. During the 1999 Kosovo War, he became an on-air analyst and worked with Nightly News. His favorite subjects surround the government and Homeland Security, and he claims to love conspiracy theories and seeing if there’s any truth to them.
“Long before Trump and ‘deep state’ became an expression, I produced one ginormous investigation — Top Secret America — for the Washington Post and I wrote a nasty book — American Coup — about the creeping fascism of homeland security.
Looking back now they were both harbingers for what President Obama (and then Trump) faced in terms of largely failing to make enduring change.”
Arkin’s dissatisfaction with the media and other reporters’ general lack of professionalism led to his decision to resign. “I find it shocking that we essentially condone continued American bumbling in the Middle East and now Africa through our ho-hum reporting,” he said. “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.”
A lot of the issue stems from social media, he claimed. Word spreads quickly over the internet, and a lot of times the message is skewed or even, at times, complete fiction. People, like sheep, glom on to click bate headlines and share stories without even taking time to research the facts first before spreading the “fake news.” Oftentimes, people do not even read anything but the headlines before going on their merry way, spreading lies while patting themselves on the back for being informed citizens. Arkin said “it was clear that NBC (like the rest of the news media) could no longer keep up with the world… And I have maintained my central view that airpower (in its broadest sense including space and cyber) is not just the future but the enabler and the tool of war today.”
Although he didn’t come out and completely bash NBC, Arkin did make his point that he was disappointed in the network and how it regulated and directed the news.
Arkin plans to continue writing, and said he may even return to the networks one day. But for now, “I feel like I’ve failed to convey this larger truth about the hopelessness of our way of doing things, especially disheartened to watch NBC and much of the rest of the news media somehow become a defender of Washington and the system.”