Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words:
The supposed big news here is that Dan Coats, the Director of National Intelligence, didn’t know about President Trump’s invitation to Vladimir Putin to visit the White House this fall.
The real story is in plain sight: all the corporate sponsors of the Aspen Security Forum, including Lockheed Martin, the nation’s leading weapons maker. I like the way the logo for Lockheed Martin hovers just above Dan Coats’s head. Who works for whom here?
(Other military contractors with prominent logos included Symantec, which specializes in cybersecurity, and MITRE, which technically is a not-for-profit corporation that works mainly with the Department of Defense; I worked with MITRE engineers when I was in the Air Force.)
The other obvious story: the mainstream media’s cozy relationship to those in power. Andrea Mitchell’s interview with Coats is downright chummy. It’s all very polite and non-confrontational, with Mitchell hinting we all should be very concerned and nervous about Trump negotiating alone with Putin.
Perhaps so, perhaps not. But I am concerned about all those cozy relationships within and across the national security state, and the way our media eagerly joins in on the fun. Collusion takes many forms; let’s not focus so tightly on alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia that we miss what’s in clear sight in photos and videos such as this.
Update (7/22/18): Is the mainstream media focusing on cozy relationships and possible collusion among the various players at Aspen? You know, the military-industrial complex, the government and its seventeen intelligence agencies, universities and think tanks and the media, i.e. the usual suspects? Of course not. At ABC News, they’re focusing on whether Dan Coats’s chuckle and off-the-cuff remarks about Putin’s proposed visit to the White House were disrespectful to Trump. And there you have it.