The New York Times (9/18/17) gave an enormous platform to a hawkish think tank that is funded by the US government and by top weapons corporations, letting it absurdly claim, without any pushback, that the gargantuan US military—by far the largest in the world—has been “underfunded.”
The nearly 700-word article quoted three people, only one of whom was not an elected official. Not a single person or organization that opposes the Defense Department budget expansion was cited in the story.
The lone non-official voice quoted by the Times was Anthony H. Cordesman (incorrectly identified as Anthony N. Cordesman), a national security analyst at the influential, bellicose think tank the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
The Times gave no background information about Cordesman, failing to disclose that—as his CSIS bio clearly notes—he previously served as McCain’s national security assistant, and that he formerly worked for the Pentagon, the State Department and NATO. (He was even awarded the Pentagon’s distinguished service medal.)
Cordesman’s notoriously pro-war employer CSIS, which in January boasted of being “named the world’s number one Defense and National Security think tank for the sixth year in a row,” also just so happens to be generously funded by the governments of the US and its military allies, along with leading corporations in the arms industry (Extra!, 10/16)—although the New York Times left that out of its report as well.
CSIS states clearly on its website that the think tank’s top corporate donors include the most influential weapons companies, such as Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Boeing and General Dynamics. Another significant contributor is Raytheon.
All of these military technology contractors stand to profit directly from an expanded Department of Defense budget.
Fossil fuel companies Chevron, ExxonMobil and Saudi Aramco are likewise some of the biggest donors to CSIS. These corporations also will likely profit from an expanded Pentagon budget, given that the US military is the world’s largest consumer of oil.
Top government donors to CSIS, moreover, include the United States and its close allies the United Arab Emirates, Japan and Taiwan, which coordinate with the US military. The UAE is also the second-largest customer for US arms.
Harvard has put out an excellent tip sheet that can help journalists (and others) who are citing think tanks and think tank scholars.