Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Who’s making out with your think tanker while he’s out making out with industry?

Peter Singer of Brookings, a think tank type, raises a good question about the problem of journalists quoting think tankers who get paid by the corporations that provide some of the weapons or services under discussion. Reminds me of that old song. Seriously, I have no good answers or perspective here. First of all, I ...

_william/flickr
_william/flickr
_william/flickr

Peter Singer of Brookings, a think tank type, raises a good question about the problem of journalists quoting think tankers who get paid by the corporations that provide some of the weapons or services under discussion. Reminds me of that old song.

Seriously, I have no good answers or perspective here. First of all, I am one of the goldfish in this particular glass bowl. Second, back when I was a reporter, the last thing I wanted to do when writing a story on deadline about, say, Iraq policy, was try to figure out, while I was doing an interview with some foreign policy bigwig, who was paying said bigwig for what goods and services back in the US of A. Nor, as someone now on a think tank payroll, could I tell you what my hidden agenda is supposed to be. Fwiw, here (once you scroll down) is a list of funders of CNAS. You tell me just what "Cross-Strait Interflow Prospect Foundation" does, and what their position on Afghanistan is. First I've ever heard of them.

Wanna solve my moral quandary? For Christmas, send my colleague V. Jeronimo a nice check, at this address, with "Tom told me to" in the memo line:

Peter Singer of Brookings, a think tank type, raises a good question about the problem of journalists quoting think tankers who get paid by the corporations that provide some of the weapons or services under discussion. Reminds me of that old song.

Seriously, I have no good answers or perspective here. First of all, I am one of the goldfish in this particular glass bowl. Second, back when I was a reporter, the last thing I wanted to do when writing a story on deadline about, say, Iraq policy, was try to figure out, while I was doing an interview with some foreign policy bigwig, who was paying said bigwig for what goods and services back in the US of A. Nor, as someone now on a think tank payroll, could I tell you what my hidden agenda is supposed to be. Fwiw, here (once you scroll down) is a list of funders of CNAS. You tell me just what "Cross-Strait Interflow Prospect Foundation" does, and what their position on Afghanistan is. First I’ve ever heard of them.

Wanna solve my moral quandary? For Christmas, send my colleague V. Jeronimo a nice check, at this address, with "Tom told me to" in the memo line:

Ms. V. Jeronimo
Director of Development, CNAS
1301 Pennsylvania Avenue
Suite 403
Washington, D.C. 20004

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1
Tag: Media

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