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Taibbi writes: "All journalism is advocacy journalism. No matter how it's presented, every report by every reporter advances someone's point of view. The advocacy can be hidden, as it is in the monotone narration of a news anchor for a big network like CBS or NBC ..."

Glenn Greenwald. ( Photo: Vincent Yu/ AP)
Glenn Greenwald. ( Photo: Vincent Yu/ AP)



Hey, MSM: All Journalism is Advocacy Journalism

By Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

27 June 13

 

o New York Times Dealbook writer Andrew Ross Sorkin has apologized to journalist Glenn Greenwald for saying he'd "almost arrest" him, for his supposed aid and comfort of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. "I veered into hyperbole," was Sorkin's explanation.

I got into trouble the other day on Twitter for asking if David Gregory may have just had a "brain fart" when he asked Greenwald his infamous question, "To the extent that you have aided and abetted Snowden, even in his current movements, why shouldn't you be charged with a crime?" I hadn't seen the show and had only read the quote, and quite frankly, I don't watch a lot of David Gregory. Apparently, in context, even the question I asked is absurd (more on that later). But Sorkin is different. For Sorkin to call his outburst an accident, that I know is hilarious.  

Did he also "veer into" a long career as a shameless, ball-gargling prostitute for Wall Street? As Jeff Cohen eloquently pointed out on HuffPo, isn't Sorkin the guy who's always bragging about how close he is to top bankers and parroting their views on things? This is a man who admitted, in print, that he only went down to Zucotti Park after a bank C.E.O. asked him, "Is this Occupy thing a big deal?"

(Sorkin's reassuring response: "As I wandered around the park, it was clear to me that most bankers probably don't have to worry about being in imminent personal danger . . .")

And when Senator Carl Levin's report about Goldman's "Big Short" and deals like Abacus and Timberwolf came out, it was Sorkin who released a lengthy screed in Dealbook defending Goldman, one I instantly recognized as being nearly indistinguishable from the excuses I'd heard from Goldman's own P.R. people.

But the biggest clue that Sorkin's take on Greenwald was no accident came in the rest of that same Squawk Box appearance (emphasis mine):

I feel like, A, we've screwed this up, even letting him get to Russia. B, clearly the Chinese hate us to even let him out of the country.
I would arrest him . . . and now I would almost arrest Glenn Greenwald, who's the journalist who seems to want to help him get to Ecuador.

We? Wow. That's a scene straight out of Malcolm X. ("What's the matter, boss, we sick?") As a journalist, when you start speaking about political power in the first person plural, it's pretty much glue-factory time.

The irony of all of this is that this whole discussion is taking place in a phony "debate" that's now being cooked up about the legitimacy of advocacy journalism, which is exactly what Sorkin practices when he goes down to Zucotti Park on behalf of a bank CEO or when he talks about how "we" screwed up, letting Snowden out of the country. Preposterously, they've made the debate about Glenn Greenwald, who absolutely does practice advocacy journalism. But to pretend he's the only one is lunacy.

All journalism is advocacy journalism. No matter how it's presented, every report by every reporter advances someone's point of view. The advocacy can be hidden, as it is in the monotone narration of a news anchor for a big network like CBS or NBC (where the biases of advertisers and corporate backers like GE are disguised in a thousand subtle ways), or it can be out in the open, as it proudly is with Greenwald, or graspingly with Sorkin, or institutionally with a company like Fox.

But to pretend there's such a thing as journalism without advocacy is just silly; nobody in this business really takes that concept seriously. "Objectivity" is a fairy tale invented purely for the consumption of the credulous public, sort of like the Santa Claus myth. Obviously, journalists can strive to be balanced and objective, but that's all it is, striving.

Try as hard as you want, a point of view will come forward in your story. Open any newspaper from the Thirties or Forties, check the sports page; the guy who wrote up the box score, did he have a political point of view? He probably didn't think so. But viewed with 70 or 80 years of hindsight, covering a baseball game where blacks weren't allowed to play without mentioning the fact, that's apology and advocacy. Any journalist with half a brain knows that the biases of our time are always buried in our coverage.

Like many others, in my career I decided early on that I'd rather be out in the open about my opinions, and let readers know what my biases are to the extent that I can. I recognize, however, that there's value in the other kind of reporting, where papers like the Times strive to take personal opinions out of the coverage and shoot for a "Just the facts, Ma'am" style. The value there is that people trust that approach, and readers implicitly enter into a contract with the newspaper or TV station that takes it, assuming that the organization will honestly try to show all points of view dispassionately.

Some organizations do a great job of that, but others often violate that contract, and carefully choose which "Just facts" to present and which ones to ignore, so as to put certain political or financial interests in a better light. But that doesn't mean the approach per se is illegitimate. It's just different.

What's frightening now is that we suddenly have talk from people who ought to know better, not only advancing the childish lie that Glenn Greenwald and his ilk are the world's only advocacy journalists, but also that the legitimacy of such journalists is even in question.

Gregory, I later found out, shamelessly went there in his exchange with Greenwald, saying, "Well, the question of who's a journalist may be up to a debate with regards to what you're doing."

But even crazier was a subsequent Washington Post article, also cited by Cohen, entitled "On NSA disclosures, has Glenn Greenwald become something other than a reporter?" The article was unintentionally comic and surrealistic because despite writer Paul Farhi's above-the-fray tone, the mere decision to write such a piece is a classic demonstration of the aforementioned brand of hidden-bias, non-advocacy advocacy.

I mean, why not write exactly the same piece, but ask whether Andrew Ross Sorkin or David Gregory in this scandal has become something other than a reporter? One could make exactly the same argument using the behaviors of those two as the hook. The editorial decision to make it about Glenn was therefore a major piece of advocacy, despite the "agnostic" language employed in the piece (straight-news editors love the term "agnostic" and hilariously often think it applies to them, when in fact they usually confine their doubts to permitted realms of thought).

The Post piece was full of the usual chin-scratching claptrap about whether it's appropriate for journalists to have opinions, noting that "the line between journalism – traditionally, the dispassionate reporting of facts – and outright involvement in the news seems blurrier than ever."

This is crazy – news organizations are always involved in the news. Just ask the citizens of Iraq, who wouldn't have spent the last decade in a war zone had every TV network in America not credulously cheered the White House on when it blundered and bombed its way into Baghdad on bogus WMD claims. Ask Howard Dean, whom I watched being driven literally bonkers by the endless questions posed by "dispassionate" reporters about whether or not he was "too left" or "too strident" to be president, questions they were being spoon-fed in bars along the campaign trail late at night by Democratic Party hacks who resented the fact that Dean went through outside channels (i.e. the Internet) to get campaign funding, and in his speeches was calling out the Dems' pathetic cave-in on the Iraq issue.

Even worse was this quote in the Post piece from a University professor:

Edward Wasserman, dean of the University of California at Berkeley's journalism school, said having a "social commitment" doesn't disqualify anyone from being a journalist. But the public should remain skeptical of reporters who are also advocates. "Do we know if he's pulling his punches or has his fingers on the scale because some information that should he should be reporting doesn't fit [with his cause]?" Wasserman asked in an interview. "If that's the case, he should be castigated."

Wasserman, the piece pointed out, noted that he hadn't seen such cause for alarm in Greenwald's case. But even so, his opinion is astonishing. We should be skeptical of reporters who are advocates, because they might be pulling punches to advance a cause?

Well . . . that's true. But only if we're talking about all reporters, because all reporters are advocates. If we're only talking about people like Glenn Greenwald, who are open about their advocacy, that's a crazy thing to say. People should be skeptical of everything they read. In fact, people should be more skeptical of reporters who claim not to be advocates, because those people are almost always lying, whether they know it or not.

The truly scary thing about all of this is that we're living in an age where some very strange decisions are being made about who deserves rights, and who doesn't. Someone shooting at an American soldier in Afghanistan (or who is even alleged to have done so) isn't really a soldier, and therefore isn't really protected by the Geneva Conventions, and therefore can be whisked away for life to some extralegal detention center. We can kill some Americans by drone attacks without trial because they'd ceased to have rights once they become enemy combatants, a determination made not collectively but by some Star Chamber somewhere.

Some people apparently get the full human-rights coverage; some people on the other end aren't really 100 percent people, so they don't.

That's what makes this new debate about Greenwald and advocacy journalism so insidious. Journalists of all kinds have long enjoyed certain legal protections, and those protections are essential to a functioning free press. The easiest way around those protections is simply to declare some people "not journalists." Ten years ago, I would have thought the idea is crazy, but now any journalist would be nuts not to worry about it. Who are these people to decide who's a journalist and who isn't? Is there anything more obnoxious than a priesthood?

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+44 # Inspired Citizen 2013-06-27 12:28
"We can kill some Americans by drone attacks without trial because they'd ceased to have rights once they become enemy combatants, a determination made not collectively but by some Star Chamber somewhere."

People need to start recognizing that Taibbi is talking about the fact that Obama violated the 5th and 14th Amendments when he had American Anwar al-Awlaki killed. I have no problem reporting that and advocating what I was taught about the Constitution in high school, namely that a president who does this should be impeached.

http://www.sharethisurlaboutglennbeck.com/2013/05/president-obamas-speech-on-drones-and.html

This was a great piece that I will use in my advocacy reporting going forward.
 
 
+30 # candida 2013-06-27 17:44
I agree this is a great piece, and I will be using it in my "advocacy teaching" in the future, especially when I'm called down by my dean for a few students complaining that I'm "too political" in my teaching (as if politics weren't a part of the social sciences!). Just not the right politics. So much for academic freedom.
 
 
+25 # Trueblue Democrat 2013-06-27 19:47
Good for you, Inspired. And I hope you will point out to them that it isn't just in science class that they must recognize that "facts" are merely phenomenon perceived and recorded by imperfect recorders. It is even more the case in the inexact sciences.

Matt remarked that "papers like the Times strive to take personal opinions out of the coverage," but he would be the first to acknowledge that the Times is anything but the newspaper of record it pretends to be. It is an imperfect record --relating only what the editors and publishers of the Times choose to record. What the NYT has failed to report or has buried back on page 37 among the truss ads would fill a very large and much more accurate history of our times than one taken from NYT front page articles.
 
 
-1 # TCinLA 2013-06-30 00:17
Go back to drooling over your favorite "rodeo cowboy," as he has termed himself.
 
 
+21 # RobertMStahl 2013-06-27 12:46
Chris Floyd:
http://www.globalresearch.ca/follow-the-money-the-secret-heart-of-the-secret-state-the-deeper-implications-of-the-snowden-revelations/5340132

"When people refuse to understand the difference between the nature of an action itself and the judgment we might pass on the person who undertakes the action, it is usually because they are trying to get away with something." Arthur Silber:

http://powerofnarrative.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/in-praise-of-mess-chaos-and-panic.html
 
 
+2 # RobertMStahl 2013-06-27 12:50
Or, back to the horse's patoot. Paul Craig Roberts:

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2013/06/25/a-new-beginning-without-washingtons-sanctimonious-mask-paul-craig-roberts/
 
 
+10 # rradiof 2013-06-27 12:51
Wasserman, Gregory, and Sorkin are all Zionists. Just sayin'. Over and out.
 
 
+2 # Linwood 2013-06-28 06:11
And here we have the corollary to Godwin's law - As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Israel or Zionism approaches 1. In this case, it didn't take long at all.
 
 
+1 # fdawei 2013-06-29 00:16
rradiof - SHAME ON YOU -- Racist and anti-Semitic remarks have no place in a news discussion.

Over and out...to you!!!
 
 
-1 # TCinLA 2013-06-30 00:19
And you are an idiot. Just sayin'. Over and out.
 
 
+17 # anarchteacher 2013-06-27 12:52
With the death of their paragon Walter Cronkite, the true collective face of the Establishment media was exposed once and for all.

It was not the noble visage of an intrepid crusader for truth, but a sagging countenance, oily and obsequent by decades of lying and servility to their masters.

But of course this is not how the press perceive themselves. They are not like you or me.

They are a special class of beings. They are the Fourth Estate, an imaginary extension of the rigid class structure of pre-Revolutiona ry France from the Estates General.

In the Ancien Regime there was the clergy, the nobility, and lastly, the bourgeoisie and commoners. The Fourth Estate see themselves on an equal par with the first two elevated classes, and above the third. It is the aristocratic notion that gentlemen and ladies of the press serve a vaunted "public interest," and do not soil themselves with activities of a rank and sordid commercialism.

Such endeavors would be a violation of their hoary journalistic ethics. They have a public trust to enlighten the masses in their duties to their betters, those who compose the state and their adjunct servitors in the kept press.

With the passing of Cronkite the stark reality was all too apparent, even to these lumbering dinosaurs.
 
 
0 # candida 2013-06-27 17:46
Interesting! Thanks for the lesson!
 
 
+51 # Craig Jones 2013-06-27 12:56
Long live Rolling Stone and longer live Matt Taibbi.
 
 
+6 # James Marcus 2013-06-27 13:08
More so. The 'description' is never the 'Described', itself. Only a 'rendition', in the eyes of the Beholder/Report er /Journalist. Even at best, with real dedication to impartiality, the very words used irrevocably carry connotation to listeners, that may be fairly different from a Speakers intention! Especially if a Listener has a bias; meanings get misinterpreted.
Now, add Reporting Bias, and intentional Verbal Chicanery, to that mix.
 
 
+20 # anarchteacher 2013-06-27 13:11
http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKmockingbird.htm

Operation Mockingbird (or its 2013 equivalent) is alive and well.

The National Security State pleads it no longer pays these scurrilous scribes or have them on retainer as agitprop flacks as it did for decades in the past.

There have always been such regime stenographer hacks that bemoan “advocacy journalism” but are nothing more than shameless shills or “presstitutes” for their power elite pimps.


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/09/07/priceless-how-the-federal_n_278805.html

Yeah, just like how the Fed never buys economists to burble on about its munificence and virtues.

A whore is a whore is a whore.

Except these particular whores give respectable and upstanding streetwalkers and call girls a bad name.
 
 
+2 # 666 2013-06-27 16:18
that's where you are wrong teacher, at least whores don't pretend to be anything other than whores... these media scumbags pretend they aren't whores but sweet innocents (loaded with socially transmitted diseases...). they can't, in fact, admit they've sold their souls, their bodies and minds.
 
 
+17 # Milarepa 2013-06-27 13:17
Free speech and free journalism are deeply ingrained in American history. Good thing too because Hitler had no problem transforming democratic Germany into the Nazi state within a few months after becoming Reichskanzler. It can't happen that way in the US. It's much more complex. Innuendo, obfuscation, near-libel, downright fantasy and nasty invention are used to keep up the illusion of a still-free society. Naturally journalists fighting this trend must be discredited - or worse. Simply put, we ain't seen nothin' yet!
 
 
+16 # tbcrawford8 2013-06-27 13:28
Thanks Matt, Tragic how even people one would expect to think critically drink the media KoolAid. Glenn Greenwald a particular hero of mine just because he's direct, honest and fearless. His column today especially interesting. Evidently the expected media trashing couldn't come up with much.
 
 
+19 # madams12 2013-06-27 13:34
One good thing that this Orwellian twist of logic as to 'whom /what constitutes REAL journalism' is that it's ever more clear who is doing their job and who is a lying hack...a toadie for the corps (corpse). We have our own version of state approved 'news'...usuall y includes the 'enemy of the day'...the mass murderer of the week...the Cat 5 bad weather story of the month...and the war of the quarter.
I'm thankful for the many courageous journalists and human beings like Anthony Shadid, Michael Hastings, Danny Casolaro, Gary Webb, Jose Curso and hundreds of other writers, cameramen, journalists who have given their lives to get the stories out..
 
 
+15 # RMDC 2013-06-27 14:02
""Objectivity" is a fairy tale invented purely for the consumption of the credulous public, sort of like the Santa Claus myth. "

Robert McChesney in "The Problem with Media" does an excellent job of telling how this fairy tale got invented in the 1940s and 50s.

Christopher Simpson in "The Science of Coercion" tells who invented it. In the two decades after WW II, the US regime through the State Dept., Defense Dept., and CIA ran a program of psychological warfare operations against the US population. It funded the creation of graduate schools in journalism and the journalistic code of ethics where the objectivity fairy tale exists today. The psy-ops program also funded groups like Roper and Gallup to create standards for political polling. The standard insure that political polling actually shapes and creates public opinion rather than measure it.

Kristina Borjesson in "Into the Buzz Saw" explains how journalists are really required to present the views of the ruling elites instead of what they might discover as investigators.

Journalist like Greenwald are just independent. That's the thing mainstream journalists cannot be.
 
 
+2 # Nominae 2013-06-27 23:02
Quoting RMDC:
""Objectivity" is a fairy tale invented purely for the consumption of the credulous public, sort of like the Santa Claus myth. "

Robert McChesney in "The Problem with Media" does an excellent job of telling how this fairy tale got invented in the 1940s and 50s. ...........

Journalist like Greenwald are just independent. That's the thing mainstream journalists cannot be.


GOOOD STUFF ! Thank you for your contribution.
 
 
+13 # pappajohn15@Gmail.com 2013-06-27 14:42
And the mainstream media has once again missed the point: they are totally immersed in the hunting down of the whistleblower instead of the whistle blown scandal that he uncovered. By the time he gets caught no one will even remember what it was that he uncovered...

Just like during elections when they worry about the horse race rather than the prospects of governing.
 
 
+2 # Nominae 2013-06-27 23:07
Quoting pappajohn15:
And the mainstream media has once again missed the point: they are totally immersed in the hunting down of the whistleblower instead of the whistle blown scandal that he uncovered. By the time he gets caught no one will even remember what it was that he uncovered...

Just like during elections when they worry about the horse race rather than the prospects of governing.


You have just described the misdirection of National Attention that keeps the public flat-footed and groggy even when some of the most closely held secrets DO emerge !

"Didn't HAPPEN, y'all. Everything's hunky dory. Just go on back to sleep now. That's good people. A comatose citizenry is a PATRIOTIC citizenry ! You are all heroes. Good night."
 
 
+4 # RLF 2013-06-28 05:02
We expect this from The Wash. Post as it is now a Murdock piece of crap but we still pretend the NY Times is OK but it has clearly shown that it is nothing but an mouthpiece for the security state in everything it has printed since before Iraq. Hello the new pampleteers...o n the internet!
 
 
+13 # georgemilton 2013-06-27 14:43
Snowden is a TEST to see if they can resist trying to label what many feel is a heroic whistle-blower, eligible for all of the protections whistle-blowers are supposed to be eligible, as an enemy combatant and trying to murder an innocent hero of truth and justice.
 
 
+13 # fredboy 2013-06-27 17:00
I view Matt as a superb journalist, but must disagree with his premise. When I was trained as a journalist we suffered a gauntlet of lessons to instill objectivity and fairness. Yes, we might start with assumptions and hunches, as they often lead to great stories. But we had to let the story play out by being extremely thorough, open to every idea and counter-positio n, asking every question and by constantly challenging every point of view and finding.

And we had to bend over backwards to avoid taking sides. Ever. We let the facts speak for themselves.

Today journalism is mired in a creepy mix of political beliefs, stoicism, limited fact-finding, assumptions, and brash know-it-allness . And, in most cases, zip courage--what I call The Gelding of the Fourth Estate. In fact, there is no more Fourth Estate. It is just a hodgepodge of opinion and handouts and taking sides and blather.

Real journalism could help right the ship, like it did during the Vietnam lie, Watergate, and at other key times in our history. Now, when we need it most, we have it least.
 
 
+1 # RMDC 2013-06-28 05:16
"When I was trained as a journalist we suffered a gauntlet of lessons to instill objectivity and fairness. Yes, we might start with assumptions and hunches, as they often lead to great stories. But we had to let the story play out by being extremely thorough, open to every idea and counter-position"

I think this is what Matt does. The difference between your journalism and his is that if your investigation leads to the discovery that someone in power is lying or is corrupt, you don't say that. You just let them tell the lies or tell his story and your print it without comment. Matt says the guy is lying. Saying someone is lying is a value judgment. Just printing the lie is objective.

What's wrong with "objective" journalism is that it hands the story over to the sources, who when they are skilled politicians are able to spin reporters and manipulate them and the reporter cannot print that the source is a scum and a liar.

This is especially effective when the sources use PR buzz words. Reporters have to repeat those words and cannot critique them as distractions.

The best example of a source using a journalist is Watergate. Woodward was spun by Mark Felt (deep throat) and played like a trout. He did not look at things Felt did not direct him to.
 
 
+4 # dick 2013-06-27 18:22
The most effective manipulation pretends to be neutral, balanced.
 
 
+2 # xflowers 2013-06-27 19:58
Excellent analysis. Matt Taibbi, you are one smart guy. Why am I thinking of Bob Dylan right now:

“And I'll tell and speak it and think it and breathe it
And reflect from the mountain so all souls can see it
And I'll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin'
But I'll know my song well before I start singing
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, and it's a hard
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.”
 
 
+10 # Roger Kotila 2013-06-27 21:39
I agree with Matt Taibbi that in one form or another all journalism is "advocacy" journalism. I believe journalists should do their best to practice "world public interest journalism," a point of view that respects "we, the people" over jingoistic reporting (so often seen on CBS, ABC, NBC news and in the NY Times or Washington Post when the propaganda machine is being cranked up).

Greenwald (and Taibbi)deserve our respect and thanks. There are "standards" to judge world public interest journalism such as the Universal Bill of Rights in the Earth Constitution. The people have the right to privacy and to freedom from secret surveillance. Snowden's revelations should be reported to the public who have a right to know when its government is violating these basic rights. Reporter Greenwald illustrates world public interest journalism at its best.
 
 
+3 # Guy Montag 2013-06-28 07:55
Pre-script on the Pentagon’s NYT reporter Thom Shanker:

It’s worth noting that four years ago Shanker also previously whitewashed Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s key role in the cover-up of Pat Tillman’s 2004 friendly-fire death in Afghanistan.

Just before McChrystal’s June 2009 Senate confirmation as Afghan War commander, the NYT’s published Thom Shanker’s piece, “Nomination of U.S. Afghan Commander Revives Questions in Tillman Case” supposedly “exonerating” McChrystal and claimed he was “cleared of wrongdoing.” Although Shanker’s article was full of official “facts,” he ignored clear evidence McChrystal‘s culpability [for details, see “Something to Die for” or "Lies Borne Out by Facts, If Not the Truth" at the Feral Firefighter blog].

The evening after his Senate confirmation, McChrystal gave Shanker (& fellow NYT reporter Eric Schmitt) a private tour of his new Pentagon HQ! A few months later, he took a sabbatical as a "writer in residence" at the think-tank CNAS (which worked closely with McChrystal on the Afghan War “surge) and CNAS hosted his 2011 book release party. Isn’t “access” grand!
 
 
+1 # Guy Montag 2013-06-28 07:56
"In its obituary for the journalist [Michael Hastings]... the New York Times toed a line peddled by the government at the time of the McChrystal scandal by casting some doubt on Hastings’ reporting. The journalist’s widow, Elise Jordan, has been swift to take issue with the Times obit."

-- Natasha Lennard, Salon.com (June 20, 2013)
. . .

In a 2012 Alternet interview Hastings was asked: “are there individual reporters whom you want to call out publicly for their sort of following the Pentagon line and not doing their job?” He replied, “Yeah. I saw a pretty egregious example with the New York Times Pentagon correspondent [Thom Shanker] who literally just published the Pentagon spokesperson's anonymous quotes when he was reporting on my stories … he's got the official line from the Pentagon.”

(Note: Shanker wrote the NYT piece “clearing” McChrystal of wrongdoing in “le’Affair Rolling Stan” the obit referenced)

I don’t have any confidence in our “watchdog” media. As Hastings said, “they call it the Pentagon Press Corps, right? And you sort of think, oh, well it means the people who kind of watch over the Pentagon and perform the media's watchdog function, but no, it's an extension of the Pentagon.”
 
 
+1 # Guy Montag 2013-06-28 07:57
“[Elise Jordan’s] main complaint was that the Times called into question her husband's reporting on McChrystal by bringing up the Defense Department's investigation.”

Unfortunately, Sullivan failed to resolve this issue and carefully dodged addressing the truthfulness of Hasting’s “Rolling Stone” profile. She didn't play much of a watchdog role on the NYT, although she did point out the obit editor (?) cut the original on-line version's final lines that praised Hastings from the print edition (supposedly for "space concerns").

The NYT’s ”blatant mischaracteriza tion” of Hasting’s "Rolling Stone" story is another example of their lack of journalistic integrity. Instead of seeking to discern the truth of the controversy, the NYT’s has once again (as with the Pentagon’s NYT reporter Thom Shanker’s 2009 whitewash of McChrystal’s role in the Pat Tillman cover-up) displayed its stenographic ability to parrot the official government position “borne out by facts, if not the truth.” Stenography in the service of smearing a real journalist after his tragic, early death!
 
 
+1 # Guy Montag 2013-06-28 08:01
“Sullivan said the story wasn't wrong, but acknowledged the complaints about the suggestions that the obituary questioned Hastings' reporting.”

She wrote “the obituary…is not factually inaccurate, as far as I can tell.” “As far as I can tell”? How much fact-checking did Sullivan do? Why didn’t she discover that Hasting's story is more credible and backed up by more evidence (20 hours of tape, 70 pages of notes, and his book) vs. the never released Army report & the 6-page Pentagon report? Why didn’t she ask to listen to the tapes to verify the facts for herself? Or try to get McChrystal or his staff to actually go on the record? [for links to source material, see “More NYT’s Lies Borne Out by Facts, If Not the Truth” at the Feral Firefighter blog].
 
 
0 # Guy Montag 2013-06-28 08:02
“But the Times' obituaries editor Bill McDonald denied that the newspaper ‘mischaracteriz ed the Defense Department report’ as bringing up questions about Hastings' Rolling Stone article or that the Times was "questioning [Hastings'] article's accuracy.’”

He claimed that “it’s not The Times that is questioning the article’s accuracy; it was the Defense Department. We're simply reporting what it publicly said.” Really? His response brings to mind a quote from the film “V for Vendetta” in which a TV broadcaster said, "our job is to report the news, not fabricate it; that's the government's job.”

In her take on the obit, NYT Public Editor Margaret Sullivan said that “the obituary…is not factually inaccurate, as far as I can tell” …” What exactly did she mean? Does she agree with McDonald that it's OK to simply repeat the Pentagon's "lies borne out by facts, if not the truth"?
 
 
0 # Guy Montag 2013-06-28 08:02
“Jordan added that she "transcribed and have all the tape recordings" of Hastings' interviews for the report on [Gen. Stanley] McChrystal as evidence of the accuracy of his reporting.”

“I can personally verify that some of the most damning comments were made by McChrystal himself, and many others made by his aides in his presence were greeted with his enthusiastic approval.”

In his disingenuous 2013 memoir McChrystal only briefly mentioned the controversy which led to his firing by President Obama [see the post "Never Shall I Fail My Comrades" at the Feral Firefighter blog].

Although McChrystal claimed he “took full responsibility” for the controversy, he also blamed Michael Hastings for his supposed lack of fairness and accuracy. However, it's worth noting that McChrystal has repeatedly refused to confirm or deny the accuracy of Hasting’s quotes when questioned by reporters (and he was never questioned by the Pentagon investigators).
 
 
0 # Guy Montag 2013-06-28 08:05
The New York Time’s obituary for Michael Hastings included quotes from their reporter Thom Shanker’s April 2011 article which reported the Pentagon “challenged the accuracy of his 2010 "Rolling Stone" profile of General [Stanley] McChrystal.”

Michael Hasting’s widow, Elise Jordan, objected to the “blatant mischaracteriza tion” in his obituary” and wrote the NYT asking them to make corrections:

“If a reporter at the Times actually would read and properly analyze the Pentagon report, they would find exactly the opposite [ of an inaccurate story] … the mischaracteriza tion in the obituary reflects a longstanding – and ongoing – misrepresentati on of the facts in and surrounding this story by the Times.”

In his 2012 book “The Operators” Michael Hastings wrote: ”The investigation reads comically--no one the investigators spoke to admits to saying what they said, but they also don't admit to the quotes not having been said ... It is the last whitewash of McChrystal’s military career. … Pentagon officials would privately tell journalists that the intent of the investigation wasn’t even to find wrongdoing; it was to “damage” my credibility.”
 
 
0 # Walter J Smith 2013-06-30 15:14
'That's a scene straight out of Malcolm X. ("What's the matter, boss, we sick?")'

Priceless. If Joe Biden famous kahunas were 1% as big as Bloomberg claims, that's what Joe would be asking Obama.

RE: "If that's the case, he should be castigated." No surprise in this sort of 'running dog lackey' pap from the professor. The University has been bought off by corporate "donors" who now control the aims & ends of all "research" and "studies" and whatever else the Universities do. That is what Page Smith (no relation) was telling us in his brilliant book (1990) Killing the Spirit.

With God dead, there was only science, in its various manifestations, to kill. Then, the gig would be up except for the propaganda controllers.

The end.
 

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