Scott Atlas, a coronavirus policy advisor for President Donald Trump, was recently interviewed about coronavirus policy by Afshin Rattansi at the RT show Going Underground. That should be no surprise. Talking with someone at RT is one among various avenues Atlas has pursued to try to put his coronavirus policy views out for more people to hear.
It is after the interview aired that things got weird. On Sunday, Atlas apologized in a Twitter post for agreeing to be interviewed for the show. Atlas stated:
I recently did an interview with RT and was unaware they are a registered foreign agent. I regret doing the interview and apologize for allowing myself to be taken advantage of. I especially apologize to the national security community who is working hard to defend us.
How exactly was Atlas “taken advantage of?” He does not say that the interview was deceptively edited or that there was any chicanery whatsoever by Rattansi or anyone at RT. Atlas just writes he was unaware that RT is a registered foreign agent. Well, many governments across the world fund and run media organizations, including the United States with entities including Voice of America and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. These government-related media organizations’ mere existence does not mean they are taking advantage of all the people interviewed for their shows and publications.
The big revelation is in this part of Atlas’ tweet: “I especially apologize to the national security community who is working hard to defend us.” Atlas, in his apology, is feeding the two-headed beast of Russia bashing and extreme deference to the national security sate that drives massive military-industrial complex spending, anti-Russia sanctions, and military and covert activities around Russia that threaten destruction and escalation.
Concerning coronavirus policy, Atlas proclaimed in the RT interview that he is “proud to be an outlier, especially when the inliers are completely wrong,” and that he is “not afraid to be a contrarian” because he knows he is right. In contrast, with his apology for his RT interview, Atlas appears to have placed himself right in line with the powerful and dominating push in Washington, DC for hostility toward Russia.