Assessing the Media’s Role in US National Security


Polling indicates that public trust in media accuracy and fairness is plummeting.  This has important implications for a wide range of public policy matters, including our national security.  

Effective national security policy requires a sound understanding of relevant facts, strict adherence to the rules and regulations that circumscribe government actions, and a pragmatic balance between what is efficacious on paper and what is politically palatable in practice.  The media play a vital role in all these aspects of national security policy through their efforts to separate truth from falsehood, their informal oversight of government officials and institutions, and the narratives they employ to make sense of the facts they uncover.  

Many Americans on both the political Left and Right long for the days when media were supposedly less partisan and more reliable.  Are criticisms of media performance justified?  What, if anything, can be done to encourage stronger media performance on national security matters and greater public trust in journalistic objectivity?  

The Center for the National Interest hosted a panel of experts on Friday, August 27 for a discussion of these important questions.  

  • Martin Gurri is a visiting research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and a former senior media analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency.  His book, The Revolt of the Public and the Crisis of Authority in the New Millennium, foreshadowed the political shocks of Brexit and the rise of Donald Trump. 
  • Mollie Hemingway is a senior editor at The Federalist, a contributor for Fox News, and a Senior Journalism Fellow at Hillsdale College.  Her book, Rigged: How the Media, Big Tech, and the Democrats Seized Our Elections, will be published in October.  
  • Michael Kimmage is a professor at Catholic University, a non-resident fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, and a former Obama administration official on the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff.  His most recent book is The Abandonment of the West: The History of an Idea in American Foreign Policy. 

George Beebe, Vice President and Director of Studies at the Center and former head of Russia analysis at the Central Intelligence Agency, moderated the discussion.