NBC analyst leaving network over ‘Trump circus’

A longtime NBC News veteran in a scathing memo obtained by CNN says he is leaving the network over what he characterized as the “Trump circus.”

William Arkin, an anti-war Army veteran who has been with NBC as a military analyst, reporter and consultant for three decades, said in the 2,228-word memo that he would be departing on Friday after finding himself “completely out of synch” with the network.

“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,” he wrote. “And I find myself completely out of synch with the network, being neither a day-to-day reporter nor interested in the Trump circus.”

{mosads}“Of course [President Trump] is an ignorant and incompetent impostor,” reads another part of the memo published by CNN on Wednesday night. “And yet 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.”

Arkin appeared to criticize network coverage that was critical of Trump’s decisions to remove troops from Syria and to meet with North Korea’s leader.

“Really? We shouldn’t get out of Syria? We shouldn’t go for the bold move of denuclearizing the Korean peninsula?” he asks. “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,” Arkin adds. “What? We now lionize this historically destructive institution?”

Arkin has hit the network on Twitter for missing what he feels are bigger stories with potentially larger ramifications, as exemplified by the July 26 tweet of a photo from a meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian president Vladimir Putin at a summit in Johannesburg, South Africa.


Arkin also wrote that journalism suffers from “a really bad case of not being able to ever take a breath” and will suffer from a “gigantic media hangover” in a post-Trump world.

“In our day-to-day whirlwind and hostage status as prisoners of Donald Trump, I think — like everyone else does — that we miss so much,” the 62-year-old writes. “People who don’t understand the medium, or the pressures, loudly opine that it’s corporate control or even worse, that it’s partisan.

“Sometimes I quip in response to friends on the outside (and to government sources) that if they mean by the word partisan that it is New Yorkers and Washingtonians against the rest of the country then they are right.”

A 2018 Gallup poll showed 66 percent of those polled saying that news organizations are being “too dramatic or too sensational in order to attract more readers or viewers,” while just 27 percent disagree with that sentiment.

Arkin did note that overall his time at NBC has been “gratifying,” and that he continues to “marvel as [MSNBC President] Phil Griffin carries out his diabolical plan for the cable network to take over the world.

“I know it is characteristic of our overexcited moment to blast away at former employers and mainstream institutions, but all I can say is that despite many frustrations, my time at NBC has been gratifying,” he wrote. 

The memo isn’t solely specific to NBC, but slams all media for what Arkin sees as misplaced priorities across the spectrum. 

Arkin parted ways with a previous employer in this public manner before. Upon his departure from Gawker in 2015, Arkin shared similar sentiments. 

“I’m grateful that they offered me an opportunity,” Arkin wrote on July 27, 2015 before later adding, “but like social media as a whole, it is also a miserable place, so driven by its own feverish pursuit that it has no clue what kind of world it inhabits and thus helps build.” 
This article was updated at 5:40 p.m.


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