Jeremy Scahill — an investigative reporter, war correspondent and former UW System student — spoke Tuesday evening about the current state of the media and the importance of holding governmental organizations accountable.
Scahill, an award winning journalist for the national security outlet The Intercept, told the audience at Memorial Union that society is too focused on finding issues with President Trump. He said this focus deflects attention from organizations like the National Security Agency, CIA and special operations forces, who should also be held accountable for their actions.
“The CIA right now is in a golden era of un-accountability because no one is paying attention to them,” Scahill said. “We need to organize our priorities in this society.”
Mainstream news outlets — such as CNN, MSNBC and Fox News — set priorities for society, Scahill said, and are now more influential than many government figures. These organizations, he argued, engage in “dangerous propaganda” by presenting information before they can verify facts.
“The most influential trio of people are not the head of the U.S. military, the head of the CIA and the head of the NSA,” he said. “The most influential people in this country right now are the three imbeciles who host Fox and Friends — the weatherman, a sportscaster and a rotation of blonde, white women.”
While Scahill took issue with media outlets on both sides of the political spectrum, he said Americans have benefited from getting information from mainstream media.
It has now become normal to challenge President Trump, according to Scahill, but the same standards need to be held for other figures of authority in the government, including the next, potentially Democrat, elected president.
Political and social change can be made through the active collaboration between the younger and older generations, he said.
“If you take what is so important about the wisdom of our elders and you combine it with the innovation, creativity and energy of young people, then I think we’re going to actually be talking about changing things,” Scahill said.