The Washington Post is allowing writer Ed Rogers to push for and praise military action against Syria without disclosing that he’s a lobbyist for defense contractor Raytheon, which makes the Tomahawk missiles used in the recent strike.
Rogers is a contributor to The Washington Post’s PostPartisan blog, where he wrote an April 8 piece praising President Donald Trump for authorizing the launch of 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian airbase that reportedly housed warplanes that carried out chemical attacks against civilians.
In the piece -- headlined “Could it be? Is President Trump on a roll?” -- Rogers wrote that Trump “received bipartisan support for his military strike in Syria,” and added that the fact Trump “launched an attack against Syria while his Chinese counterpart was present and able to witness the aftermath in the media was a powerful stroke of good luck for the White House. In case Xi needed any reminding of just how serious Trump may be about taking action in North Korea, the Syria attack couldn’t have been a better example or come at a better time.”
Rogers previously criticized President Obama for failing to intervene in Syria in a December 19, 2016, Post piece. He wrote: “As troubling as it is that Obama and the Democrats allowed the Russians to interfere in the election and engage in cyberwarfare without any ramifications, we shouldn’t be surprised. After all, it is the Obama administration that has capitulated to Iran at every turn and stood by as Syrian government forces, facilitated by the Russians, slaughtered hundreds of thousands in Syria. Now more than ever, it is clear it is time for an urgent change in our foreign policy. Obama and his team cannot leave office soon enough.”
The Post did not disclose that Rogers and his firm, BGR Group, lobbies on behalf of Raytheon, which manufactures the million-dollar Tomahawk missiles. BGR received $120,000 in 2016 for lobbying on “Defense and communications procurement; Defense appropriations and authorizations,” according to its lobbying disclosure reports (see quarters 1, 2, 3, and 4). Rogers is listed as a lobbyist in those forms. BGR is one of the country's largest lobbying firms, taking in nearly $17 million in reported lobbying income last year.
Rogers isn’t the only commentator to hide conflicts of interest in recent pro-strike punditry. Media Matters has documented that Fox News failed to disclose that military analyst Jack Keane is on the board of directors of General Dynamics, which produces material used in the launching of Tomahawk missiles.
Media Matters previously noted that the Post has allowed Rogers to use his column to advocate for his clients’ interests, including on climate policies. In late 2015, the paper finally added a note about his specific work in the fossil fuel industry. At the very least, it needs to do it again regarding his financial ties to Raytheon.