I hope you’ve all read David Barstow’s very important (if depressing) story. It is, first of all, the tale of a truly shameless hack. But that’s not the most damaging thing; probably not many people have the integrity to turn down large amounts of money for undemanding work; it’s just that most of us aren’t in a position to be asked. The bigger story is NBC’s apparent belief that it should be able to put paid shills on to serve as objective analysts because, after all, the anchor and the shill have a “close friendship.” (Well, I’m convinced!)
But there’s an even deeper scandal here — the extent to which the McCaffreys and Williamses of the world form part of the military-welfare-queen complex. In a time period with immense strains on the public fisc, all military spending remains essentially beyond criticism. In this remains true even though as a description of the relationship between much of the spending and national security “diminishing returns” is a gross understatement.