Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Maybe I Am Not Critical Enough?

One of the challenges of building the Canadian Defence and Security Network has been that scholars want to produce policy relevant info and have a sense of what the government is thinking and doing without having their independence compromised.  Becoming partners with government agencies, units of the CAF, non-governmental organizations in Ottawa and far away might cause some to wonder if we are just the mouthpiece for the CAF and DND.

Today, I was painted with that brush as I had criticized an article written by one of the three or four folks in Canada who cover defence stuff on a regular basis--David Pugliese:

Ah, I am a crony.  Pugliese seems to ignore that the CGAI folks (who are a partner to the CDSN and host our #BattleRhythm podcast) often publish stuff that is critical of the armed forces.  He apparently has forgotten or missed all of the times I used his pieces to launch my own criticisms of the CAF and DND.  For instance, see this piece I wrote based on Pugliese's reporting.

There is always a concern that folks who need access will be quiet about their criticisms for fear of losing access.  I am sometimes worried that the broader network I am helping to lead might suffer from the times I take shots at folks in the military or in DND.  But those who follow me on twitter or have read enough spews here, I don't think restrained or compromised would be a word they would use.

I try to be self-aware enough as I do this stuff to make sure that I don't end up getting played by the government.  When DND took a bunch of academics to Afghanistan as part of their information operations campaign (propaganda) aimed at the Canadian public, I wondered about the wisdom of this--that we tend to be quite pesky.  The military makes it harder than most because they do a really good job of working the refs.  But I wonder, if journalists rely entirely on leaks that come to them, aren't they at risk of getting played?  Just a thought.

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