Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Is Professionalism Dead?

Last evening I had a long talk with a good friend who happens to be an attorney.

I had two concerns that I wanted to cover.  The first concerned “fair use” of articles in my blog.

The second was what I consider “Professionalism in Journalism” or a lack thereof. This has been a long-simmering issue with me, as the news coverage of politics in the US has become severely biased.  Part of it is the nature of the beast, politics is news and bias is what sells, and people gravitate to whichever bias they have.  This is a reinforcement or a validation of their opinion, it feeds their need.  The problem is when that bias bleeds over into other professional work.

In this blog, I try to keep any personal bias out of my writing, to the extent possible.  26 years in the Army teaches you that politics does not mix with work.  Since then I have worked for a slew of defense contractors, was the Director of the IO Institute for four years, and have done consulting work since.  My personal bias does not enter into anything I say or do.

When I read “Leaker in Chief” in a Lawfare Blog, Russia Indictment 2.0: What to Make of Mueller’s Hacking Indictment, it pissed me off.  They write about legal matters and give their interpretation of developing issues, many are attornies.  So, in the second paragraph, I found the offending phrase, it blew my expectation of the article apart.  All subsequent analysis was tainted. I considered it a personal bias that had leaked into their professional work. This bias is apparently systemic, as an editor and the Executive Editor of Lawfare and General Counsel of the Lawfare Institute were listed as authors.

Therefore, I wrote to them, and Benjamin Wittes, the Editor in Chief of Lawfare responded. All he dealt with was my publishing his blog without permission, basically, I got a ‘cease and desist’ from him.  What a lawyerly way to avoid addressing the real issue, their lack of professionalism. 

So I told my friend about that and he sent me a whole pile of links to articles also using “Leaker in Chief” (see postscript).

I’ll say it again. Just because all these reporters and publications have a bias does not justify it leaking into their professional work. The same should go for lawyers. This is why so many are opposed to activist judges. It goes for soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines. It should be so for intelligence professionals, it did for me.  It is supposed to be this way for government workers and officials, but of course, political appointees are expected to be biased.

Imagine any legal argument being enhanced by saying “I am opposed to President Trump because he is our “Leaker in Chief”.  Say that in court and, while the judge might personally agree, it would most likely be considered unprofessional.

An indicator of a bigger problem is many of these professionals believe they’re correct when their personal opinions and bias leaks into their professional work.  Last week, FBI Agent Strzok was clearly shown to be biased, to the extreme, while working in a sensitive position and on an extremely sensitive and volatile investigation. In my opinion, he should have recused himself if he had a professional bone in his body.

We are even seeing businesses siding with one political party or another, refusing service to opposing members or people espousing a cause they do not support or supporting this cause or another. Just because it is legal does not make it right.

I shouldn’t even mention actors, actresses, and Hollywood, but their lack of professionalism is galling.

I am seeing a very deep division in our country and I have to wonder, is Russia promoting this deep division?  Is Russia responsible for stoking the fires which are causing our personal bias to leak into our professions?   The answer is a deep and resounding yes if you’ve been reading this blog.

In 2016 we had a deeply emotional election that we now know was saturated by the propaganda, disinformation, misinformation, and fake news from Russia. We know that Russia is continuing this aggressive and harmful information warfare today.  Why don’t the leaders at the Lawfare Blog take it upon themselves to ask Congress why they aren’t mandating an aggressive policy countering Russian Information Warfare and their Political Warfare?  Why aren’t the leaders in government, in business, in corporations, in academia, in our media, and every Joe and Jane Citizen demanding that we, as a nation, put a stop to this assault on our nation, on our culture, against our very way of life?

Maybe we have lost the capability of being professional.

I mentioned this to a friend, today.  I told him that professionalism in journalism is dead.  He said,

Not only is it dead.. it’s still haunting [us] daily & attacking us in dark places like a zombie or ghost!

– Seth Shreve, CEO of Night Water Industries

ps. Leaker in Chief articles.

Editorial to the above articles.  “Leaker in Chief” is the phrase du jour being used by anti-Trumpers in an effort to brand this administration, that much is clear. Every publication has a bias to the left, many strongly.  This is indicative of a lack of professionalism in this field.