by DAVID AXE
Loren Thompson, pictured, a defense industry analyst with the conservative Lexington Institute, has launched a new blog, Early Warning. His goal, Thompson wrote in his inaugural post, is to be “long on facts — especially little known, useful facts — and short on opinions.”
Most military-industry blogs, Thompson contends, are “tendentious nonsense. For every interesting, competent effort like DoD Buzz, there are dozens of ill-mannered rants masquerading as insight. To say that blogs have lowered the standards of public discourse on policy matters is an under-statement — there are no standards. Anybody can say anything.”
It’s no wonder Thompson would highlight DoD Buzz, which is admittedly an excellent blog. DoD Buzz recently praised Thompson as “uber-connected.”
But there’s a reason Thompson is well-connected — and it has nothing to do with diligent reporting or exhaustive research. Thompson is well-connected in the defense industry because defense firms pay to use Thompson as an unofficial spokesman. “He’s a conduit for very high-level people,” Nick Schwellenbach, then an investigator for the Project on Government Oversight, a watchdog group in Washington, D.C., told the Mobile, Alabama, Press-Register.
“What is often not revealed in news reports … is that almost all funding for Thompson’s employer, the non-profit Lexington Institute, comes from the same defense contractors who frequently have a stake in the programs that he writes about,” the newspaper added.
Said Schwellenbach of Thompson: “He represents a very pro-industry viewpoint. I don’t think you’ll ever see him calling for less spending or cutting programs.” Galrahn at Information Dissemination said Thompson’s recommendations “root in industry, not strategy.”
Many of the most-popular blogs covering the defense industry — DoD Buzz, The DEW Line, Ares, Danger Room, Scoop Deck, Information Dissemination, Eric Palmer’s blog, Flight Lines, the USNI blog, CDR Salamander and others — are written by professional journalists, military officers or highly informed laymen. These people are not just “anyone with a laptop,” as Thompson describes bloggers. Many contributors to these blogs also regularly log time in combat zones, in order to hone their analysis. When was the last time Thompson had to dive into a riverbed to dodge Taliban fire or flee a band of bloody-minded Chadian soldiers?
Besides, as CDR Salamander points out, in the blogosphere your argument, not your resume, is most important. “Let the marketplace of ideas speak for itself, but if [Thompson] thinks his blog is covering anything new, then he isn’t reading blogs.”
(Photo: via Daylife)