NBC News Veteran Leaves Network, Says Media Have Become ‘Prisoners of Donald Trump’

“NBC (like the rest of the news media) could no longer keep up with the world,” Bill Arkin says

Last Updated: January 3, 2019 @ 7:10 AM

NBC News veteran Bill Arkin made a dramatic exit from his network Wednesday dropping a 2,228-word internal memo to colleagues criticizing NBC and the broader media landscape. In his lengthy missive, Arkin said the industry had becomes “hostages” to President Trump’s news cycle.

“The world and the state of journalism [is] in tandem crisis … 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 wrote. “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.”

Arkin had worked at NBC on-and-off for three decades as a reporter and military analyst. In his memo, he also spoke about highlights of that tenure that included covering the Cold War, providing analysis during the war in Kosovo, and as an on-air analyst after 9/11.

“Somewhere in all of that, and particularly as the social media wave began, it was clear that NBC (like the rest of the news media) could no longer keep up with the world,” Arkin said, adding that the media approach to covering global conflict has resulted in the acceptance of a state of “perpetual war.”

I was “disheartened to watch NBC and much of the rest of the news media somehow become a defender of Washington and the system,” he continued.

The letter also offered praise to various NBC staffers, including Cynthia McFadden, Kevin Monahan, Noah Oppenheim and the younger reporters at the network whom he called “universally excellent.”

“I’m a difficult guy, not prone to either protocol or procedure and I give NBC credit that it tolerated me through my various incarnations,” Arkin conceded.

A rep for NBC News declined to comment. You can read the full memo here. 

It’s not the first time Arkin has offered public musings after leaving an employer and has a long reputation as a contrarian. He penned a similar piece after exiting Gawker back in 2015. He also wrote a critically about about a New York Times report in which he himself was listed as a contributor. The Washington Post called him a “controversial figure” while he was blogging for the paper back in 2007.

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