How Will Biden’s Pentagon Handle Extreme Right-Wing Media? – By Kevin Baron (Defense One) / January 7 2021
The Capitol riot was just the latest tell for propaganda outlets masquerading as newsrooms.
Along with nuclear arms deals, the Afghanistan war, and a proposed $700 billion defense budget, when President-elect Joe Biden’s team steps into the Pentagon this month they’ll have another immediate decision to ponder: Who else gets into the building?
More specifically, the Biden administration’s communications teams will have to decide whether employees of extreme right-wing media outlets should be welcomed as journalists into the U.S. military’s massive headquarters. Should these actors receive credentialled press badges granting 24/7 access to the building, seats in its briefing room, desks to work at in the resident press bullpen, coveted seats on the defense secretary’s plane in the traveling press corps to visit troops at military bases worldwide, and interviews with service secretaries and the Joint Chiefs of Staff?
“This is exactly the kind of question that needs to be asked right now,” said one former Obama administration spokesperson, who could only speak on background due to their current employer’s restrictions. “I do believe that incoming communicators need to have a conversation among themselves about how they’re going to operate in this new landscape.”
It’s a concern several current and former government spokespeople have recently shared publicly and privately. Our conversations came before Wednesday’s Capitol Hill riot — an event many commentators believe was stoked by the inflammatory and divisive anti-government rhetoric often featured, highlighted, and celebrated in right-wing partisan media. The mob was incited by President Donald Trump, his sons, his attorney Rudy Giuliani, and others from the stage of Trump’s counter-Biden rally — but more generally by four years of lies and radicalism.