Think Tanks and Reporters

Interesting article from the Wired Danger Room blog:

I agree with most of the author's premise, and I figure a reporter with good national security chops like Rick Atkinson or Thomas Ricks can be as much of a policy wonk as a retired general. 

I doubt, unlike the author, that there is a big worry, at least for now, of high-powered reporters becoming members of the "group think" for defense.  Ricks, for example, was highly critical of the military in Iraq in his book Fiasco, and although I haven't finished The Gamble yet, I can already sense his skepticism of the military in Iraq and the prospects for long-term success.  

Remember, with few exceptions, retired generals want to work for big fat defense contractors, not think tanks, where I doubt the get the cash Boeing or Lockheed Martin can pay, and ex-politicians want to become lobbyists, but reporters probably can't beat a good gig at a well know think tank-- so generals, politicians and reporters are unlikely to become drinking buddies in the long term.

And of course, I totally agree that most newspapers are going to hell in a handbasket and wouldn't recognize good military and national security reporting if it bit them in the ass....the days of Ernie Pyle, Hanson Baldwin have been replaced with ????? not a darn thing.  Most of the best war reporting these days is done by bloggers like:


BTW, I own Yon's will be part of my Iraq War reading surge for early 2010....


tom ricks said…
Thanks! I think you have it about right.
Tom Ricks