When Is a TV News Interview Not Just an Interview?


Matt Taibbi and Matt Orfalea | TK News - TRANSCEND Media Service

When TV News Won’t Identify Defense Lobbyists

As war rages, viewers watch commercials for weapons dealers, often without knowing it.


26 Apr 2022 – Leon Panetta was the nation’s top security official under Barack Obama, famous for his hangdog eyes and soft-spoken, equivocating defenses of torture and assassination of Americans while serving as both Secretary of Defense and CIA director. That was years ago. Today, he’s a senior counselor at Beacon Global Strategies, which represents a host of security companies, including famed munitions maker Raytheon. In Matt Orfalea’s booming video above, we see Panetta on a recent CNN broadcast stumping for Raytheon products like Javelin and Stinger missiles, with host Bianna Golodryga saying only that he “was America’s defense secretary and CIA director.” Orfalea goes on to capture how Panetta and other military “experts” chant WEAPONS WEAPONS WEAPONS over and over like they’re trying to open magic treasure chests, their commercial ties never revealed.

As war rages, there will be officials on TV with sincere opinions about how the U.S. can help Ukraine. Very often, however, what you’re watching is a paid lobbyist plugging for a weapons maker.

Joe Biden last week authorized another $800 million in military aid to Ukraine. This second major tranche of weapons came on the heels of weeks of passionate advocacy from former national security officials calling for heavy spending on reinforcements. Somewhere in the past, these commentators usually have impressive credentials. However, the more recent jobs of these commentators are often paid gigs helping military contractors “achieve their business objectives.” This phenomenon was embarrassing before Iraq, but the last months have seen near-total saturation of the airwaves by such figures.


Matthew C. Taibbi is an American author, journalist, and podcaster. He has reported on finance, media, politics, and sports. He is a contributing editor for Rolling Stone, author of several books, a winner of the National Magazine Award for commentary, co-host of Useful Idiots, and publisher of a newsletter on Substack.

Go to Original – taibbi.substack.com

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3 Responses to “When Is a TV News Interview Not Just an Interview?”

  1. rosemerry says:

    “As war rages, there will be officials on TV with sincere opinions about how the U.S. can help Ukraine” Not really. They do not care about Ukraine, which they are destroying, but just hurting Russia, which in their pitiful ignorance they are failing to do. The USA has to have an enemy (or many) and is always attacking someone. The MIC is the only real winner.

  2. Gary Steven Corseri says:

    Cheers to Matt Taibbi and the TMS site for Taibbi’s intro and short commentary on the MIC’s constant harping on the need to weaponize poor–and getting poorer!–planet Earth!

    This article should be paired with another major piece at the current issue of TMS, mainly this:


    While Panetta and the mouthpieces like him–including presidents like Obama and Biden–rant about our need to support Ukraine in its war of survival against Russia, many of us wonder:-Before this shameful Russian invasion, what in hell was Hunter Biden–and others like him–doing in Ukraine, making millions of dollars… doing what? Blowing bubbles of pain and paint on an empty canvass, while assuring his Ukrainian hosts that the US would back the Ukrainian nationalists against the Russian-speaking and Russia-related Ukrainian separatists in the western Donbas region of Ukraine?

    MIC (“Military Industrial Complex”) is an old term, coined by Eisenhower (or his speech-writers) for Ike’s last address to the nation before turning the mantle over to his doomed successor, JFK (nearly 60 years later, that assassination still needs serious probing!).

    Living in an era of acronyms and slogans, let’s think about broadening our concepts: from MIC to MIEIC, for example: the “Military-Industrial-Education-Information-Complex.”

  3. “As war rages, there will be officials on TV with sincere opinions about how the U.S. can help Ukraine.” What else do you want them to say? the corporate British Media says the same about the United Kingdom. What happens is they cannot say “it helps keep our War Industry alive and kicking”, for this is the real reason for wars.

    Same the film industry must produce movies and the music industry needs concerts, the war industry needs wars, it can only produce wars.

    Whether the lobbyist is paid or unpaid is not important. What matters is that death products sell, people die and buildings are destroyed. This is how Government can safeguard or protect the jobs of millions.

    As for ‘publicity’, it is interesting to see in military news bulletins, how companies advertise their products “more bullets per second” “proven lethality”, etc