Retired colonel and NBC News military analyst Ken Allard announced in his San Antonio Express-News column today that he is formally severing his ties to the network, partly because network execs did not fire William Arkin for calling U.S. troops “mercenaries”:
… has anyone else noticed the network’s precipitous retreat from journalistic and ethical standards? Not only were no apologies given and no pink slips issued for Arkin’s outburst, but on his MSNBC show last week, Keith Olberman went out of his way to defend this “valid criticism” of our military. […]
And only this week, questions have been raised about the cozy relationships between CNBC anchor Maria Bartiromo and the companies she covers as a supposedly objective journalist. The response by Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of GE and godfather of the NBC family: “Substantially, I don’t think she did anything wrong.”
Fine: Let’s hope he’s right. But sometimes the only way to show where you really stand is to vote with your feet. And so with great reluctance and best wishes to my former colleagues, with this column I am severing my 10-year relationship with NBC News.
It was on last Friday’s Countdown that Keith Olbermann referred to Arkin’s smear as “valid criticism” in the course of naming Bill O’Reilly ”Worst Person in the World”:
It’s one thing to turn valid criticism by a military analyst on his blog on the Washington Post web site into part of your paranoid ravings about NBC News. That’s the kind of voodoo journalism that has vaulted the old man into his position of high ratings and low esteem.
But to drag Ken Allard — retired colonel, former NBC News military analyst, and still personal friend to some of us here — onto the air and try to force words in his mouth is something else altogether. Ken Allard had a stroke last year and has made an admirable and heartwarming recovery. For O’Reilly to try his traditional ventriloquist act with him under those circumstances is the mark of a swine.
What’s next, Keith? Will you accuse O’Reilly of penning Allard’s columns?
Ken Allard quits, William Arkin stays, and Keith Olbermann just got promoted. That should give you a pretty clear idea of where things stand right now at NBC News. (h/t Matthew Sheffield)