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Posts Tagged ‘Michael Hastings’

I wonder what Glenn Greenwald would have turned out like in a different era. In this present era of surveillance, secrecy, war, and trampled civil rights, it’s like he is pathologically incapable of doing anything but speaking truth to power. He is one of the few people on the left to keep up the anti-torture, anti-war, anti-Patriot Act drumbeat that was so intense under Bush but immediately was silenced under Obama. He routinely spits in the eye of some of the most august publications we have, like The NYT. I. Love. Glenn. Greenwald.

Last week, he had three great columns in a row on the shambolic coverage that the American media gave to the WikiLeaks Iraq release. The Afghanistan one didn’t go so hot for the propagandists at the Pentagon. This time around, they had plenty of time to lean on their sycophants at the NYT and elsewhere. They got more subservient coverage and even an assault on Julian Assange in return.

When the documents dropped in the NYT and got pretty crappy coverage, they also included a hit piece on Julian Assange. Greenwald lost it. At first, I wasn’t inclined to agree with him. Assange is a public figure. If a paper wants to run a hit piece on him, fine, let them.

But Greenwald won me over. The thing is, this media, our media, doesn’t do hit pieces anymore. Look at this NYT piece and how they smeared Assange with unsubstantiated crap from unreliable sources. Look at how his character is impugned. They don’t do this to establishment hacks. Oh, and it’s worth mentioning that the slimeball John Burns who wrote it criticized Rolling Stone freelancer Michael Hastings for his brave takedown of Stan McChrystal.

The next day, Greenwald did an unfortunately hilarious headline comparison for the WikiLeaks story from major news outlets. Nearly everyone emphasized Iraqi abuses we ignored. It was only the NYT that licked the regime’s boots and wrote “Detainees Fared Worse in Iraqi Hands.” Spinelessness. Wretch.

The third piece is a bit too long to be as interesting, but it’s another takedown of John Burns for his supposed fair story on Assange. I did find this line worth just about memorizing and repeating:

Of course, another major reason why these media figures are so eager to parrot the Government line — to try to destroy Assange and insist that there’s “nothing new” in these horrifying documents — is because they cheered for these wars in the first place.

Amen! I don’t think there’s a liberal bias in the American media. Sure, they might favor Democrats over Republicans, but what does that really matter when both parties love war and death? They just want a bigger helping of welfare state with their fat slice of imperialism and war.

Viva Greenwald.

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Via Andrew Sullivan, Rolling Stone‘s Matt Taibbi (confession: I am a huge Taibbi fan, going back to his eXile days) weighs in on the Michael Hastings vs. establishment journalists issue. You should read the whole thing, but I’ll select out the conclusion for the lazy:

[Establishment politicians] don’t need your help, and you’re giving it to them anyway, because you just want to be part of the club so so badly. Disgustingly, that’s really what it comes down to. Most of these reporters just want to be inside the ropeline so badly, they want to be able to say they had that beer with Hillary Clinton in a bowling alley in Scranton or whatever, that it colors their whole worldview. God forbid some important person think you’re not playing for the right team!

Meanwhile, the people who don’t have the resources to find out the truth and get it out in front of the public’s eyes, your readers/viewers, you’re supposed to be working for them — and they’re not getting your help. What the hell are we doing in Afghanistan? Is it worth all the bloodshed and the hatred? Who are the people running this thing, what is their agenda, and is that agenda the same thing we voted for? By the severely unlikely virtue of a drunken accident we get a tiny glimpse of an answer to some of these vital questions, but instead of cheering this as a great break for our profession, a waytago moment, one so-called reputable journalist after another lines up to protest the leak and attack the reporter for doing his job. God, do you all suck!

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That’s what Glenn Greenwald has been doing this week on behalf of Rolling Stone‘s MacChrystal profile writer Michael Hastings specifically and investigative, anti-establishment, speak-truth-to-power journalism more generally. His piece today is here and well worth your while…it even includes video clips if that’s your cup of tea. Money quote:

Yesterday, Hastings was interviewed on CNN’s Reliable Sources about the criticisms he has received from media figures over his article, and that was followed by a segment with CBS’ Lara Logan, who lambasted him.  I really recommend watching these two segments (video below), as they illustrate the two poles of journalism:  those who view their role as exposing the relevant secrets of the powerful (Hastings) and those who view their role as protecting those secrets and serving the interests of those officials (Logan).  Amazingly, Logan sounds like the most devoted member of McChyrstal’s P.R. staff or even his family:  so furious is she that Hastings would publish an article that reflected negatively on this Fine, Great Man (whom she supposedly covers) — so devoted is she to the interests of this military official — that, at one point, she drops the neutral journalist mask and shows her Bill Kristol face, and actually spat:  “Michael Hastings has never served his country the way McChrystal has.”

Greenwald is spot on. When journalists are concerned about self-preservation and continued access to their sources, chances are they aren’t providing us the sort of journalism we need to keep a free society going. Seeing the reaction to the Hastings story just makes me wonder how many stories on Guantanamo Bay, Iraqi WMDs, Abu Ghraib, civilian casualties at U.S. hands and other huge issues have been held back or watered down. There’s already the rumor that the WaPo sat on the video of the American Apache helicopter attack on Iraqi civilians posted on Wikileaks for more than a year.

Yet more coverage has probably been devoted to the OMG LIBERALZ RUN TEH PRESS!!! Dave Weigel firing.

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