On The Listening Post this week: An NBC News reporter's resignation letter excoriates US media coverage of foreign policy and national security issues. Plus, conspiracy theories and the media.

William Arkin: An insider's critique of the US media

When William Arkin, a veteran national security reporter with NBC and MSNBC, wrote his resignation email last week, he shared it with his colleagues.

It was then leaked to other news outlets. Among Arkin's criticisms of his former employer that by incessantly covering the presidency of Donald Trump, the network is being held hostage by Trump; that in its reflexively anti-Trump coverage, it has become even more promilitary; that NBC and MSNBC are now captives of the security state.

But American news consumers are tuning in to MSNBC, and its anti-Trump agenda, in record numbers. Armed with those kinds of ratings, what corporate-owned news channel would risk alienating its shareholders by changing tack?

Contributors

Eric Alterman - Columnist, The Nation
William Arkin - Former defence reporter, NBC News
Anoa Changa - Host, The Way with Anoa
Aaron Mate - Journalist
Cenk Uygur - Creator & host, The Young Turks

On our radar

Richard Gizbert speaks to producer Johanna Hoes about a Nigerian military raid on the offices of one of the largest newspapers in the country; and the CBS 60 Minutes' interview with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi that Egyptian media pretended did not happen.

Conspiracy theories and the media

Conspiracy theories are a growth industry and can affect politics.

Last year, one such theory may have helped reelect Hungarian President Viktor Orban. And Donald Trump peddled a few of them on his way to the White House.

The thing about conspiracy theories is that journalists don't really know how to cope with them. Debunking them fails to convince those who believe the media are lying to them. And the exposure that comes with countering them introduces people to conspiracies they had never heard of before.

The Listening Post's Will Yong looks at conspiracy theories, the media and the consequences they can have in the real world.

Contributors 

Travis View - Co-Host, QAnon Anonymous Podcast
Kelly Weill - Reporter, The Daily Beast
Shannon McGregor - Communications Professor, University of Utah

Source: Al Jazeera