Veteran NBC analyst recommends 'Trump-free' news days

Longtime NBC News veteran William Arkin on Sunday recommended "Trump-free" news days on cable news networks as part of the solution to what he sees as a "Trump circus" perpetuated by mainstream media outlets.

Arkin appeared on CNN's "Reliable Sources" on Sunday, days after he wrote a scathing memo explaining why he was departing from NBC News after decades as a military analyst. Arkin in the memo, obtained by CNN, said that he believes the media has been doing a poor job of covering the "perpetual war" that the U.S. is still engaged in. 


"We need to have Trump-free days, we need to have actual investigative correspondents working on actual investigations, we need to have some courage to criticize the military and criticize the national security community," Arkin told CNN's Brian Stelter on Sunday.

"I think part of what happens when you’re involved in the circus on a day-to-day basis is that you don’t have an opportunity to develop the kind of deep sources that are necessary to do these investigations," he added.

Arkin in the 2,228-word memo wrote that he has felt disconcerted by cable news coverage of President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - White House, Congress: Urgency of now around budget GOP presses Trump to make a deal on spending Democrats wary of handing Trump a win on infrastructure MORE that criticizes his foreign policy moves, including pulling troops out of Syria and meeting with North Korea's Kim Jong Un. 

Stelter asked Arkin if he believes outlets have struggled to cover national security and foreign policy issues because "so much of the oxygen is sucked up by Trump."

"I don’t think it’s just the oxygen being sucked up by Trump," Arkin replied. "I also think it’s the nature of the TV world these days, it’s the nature of social media. We just don’t give enough credit to experts, to academics, to people who might not be so conversant with TV, who can’t talk quickly, who can’t give the sound bite." 

"When I started in the world of television, we had a hell of a lot more academics, professors, experts on, and today we’ve basically given up on that," Arkin said. "Journalists are the ones who speak and journalists are not necessarily the most skilled or the most expert in terms of talking about foreign affairs."

Arkin on CNN said that he is "concerned about the world" but does not believe Trump is the "complete and utter story behind it." 

"The national security community itself has gotten stronger and has gained strength under Donald Trump," Arkin said. "And part of our responsibility as journalists is to cover the government, and not just the president."