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The “Gentlemen’s Agreement”: When TV News Won’t Identify Defense Lobbyists

When is a TV news interview not just an interview?

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, 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 defene 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.