William Arkin, a long-time consultant with NBC News, announced that he is leaving the network because it -- like the rest of the major news media -- has become a “hostage” to the President’s news cycle.
“January 4 is my last day at NBC News,” he wrote in a memo, adding: “I find myself completely out of synch with the network, being neither a day-to-day reporter nor interested in the Trump circus.”
Arkin, an expert on the military and national security, has worked with the network off and on since 1999.
He cited “harbingers” leading up to his decision, especially the emergence of the “social media wave,” which he said made it clear to him that “NBC (like the rest of the news media) could no longer keep up with the world.”
He continued that the current news media obsession with the White House was his final blow, noting:“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. 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.”
He concluded that the news media's "biggest challenge as we move forward is that we have become exhausted parents of our infant (and infantile) social media children. And because of the 'cycle,' we at NBC (and all others in the field of journalism) suffer from a really bad case of not being able to ever take a breath. We are a long way from resolving the rules of the road in this age, whether it be with regard to our personal conduct or anything related to hard news. I also don’t think that we are on a straight line towards digital nirvana, that is, that all of this information will democratize and improve society. I sense that there is already smartphone and social media fatigue creeping across the land, and my guess is that nothing we currently see – nothing that is snappy or chatty – will solve our horrific challenges of information overload or the role (and nature) of journalism. And I am sure that once Trump leaves center stage, society will have a gigantic media hangover. Thus for NBC – and for everyone else – there is challenge and opportunity ahead. I’d particularly like to think and write more about that.”