Monday, June 28, 2010

Quote of the Day

"Michael Hastings, if you believe him, says that there were no ground rules laid out. And, I mean, that just doesn't really make a lot of sense to me. I mean, I know these people. They never let their guard down like that. To me, something doesn't add up here. I just -- I don't believe it... What I find is the most telling thing about what Michael Hastings said in your interview is that he talked about his manner as pretending to build an illusion of trust and, you know, he's laid out there what his game is. That is exactly the kind of damaging type of attitude that makes it difficult for reporters who are genuine about what they do, who don't -- I don't go around in my personal life pretending to be one thing and then being something else. I mean, I find it egregious that anyone would do that in their professional life... And to be fair to the military, if they believe that a piece is balanced, they will let you back."

-- CBS Chief Foreign Correspondent Lara Logan on Rolling Stone reporter Michael Hastings during yesterday's Reliable Sources

Right. This from the woman whose network freely admits that it's covering Afghanistan less these days simply because its gorgeous star war correspondent (that would be Lara Logan) is on maternity leave. Yes, I'd certainly trust that kind of thinking and news judgment over a print reporter who's not being paid a bloody fortune and wasn't hired largely because little hearts dance over the heads of the execs in the CBS News adminisphere every time his face appears on television.

Oh, and Lara, the reason McChrystal and his people may have let their guard down is precisely because they've become so used to being slavishly blown by the establishment press. At this point, I have to imagine they naturally assume that nothing negative -- or newsworthy for that matter -- will ever be written or broadcast about them, so there's really no need to worry about censoring themselves anymore.

And who gave them that idea?

You did -- day after access-filled day.

Put it another way: Michael Hastings was asked to appear on Reliable Sources because he just broke a story of monumental importance and with almost incalculable impact. You were invited on because you're Lara Logan.


kanye said...

In one fell swoop she freely admits that not only isn't she isn't skilled enough to get to the real story but, when she actually does manage it, she doesn't run it because it would make her job hard.

Hey Lara, maybe you should give these folks a call. I'm sure they'd be glad to have you.

B8ovin said...

"...that he talked about his manner as pretending to build an illusion of trust..."

She had a problem with THAT? She had a problem with the top military brass in Afghanistan allowing themselves to be duped into trust by a journalist? No, she had a problem with the journalist.

I wonder how she feels about advertising and politics. She must HATE the "illusions of trust". But they are so unimportant compared to JOURNALISM 2.0.

Why not talk about the "illusion of trust" the Bush admin used that helped your profession sell the Iraq war to the people who bought your network's "illusion of trust" in its ability to report the news, Lara?

mike said...

In case you didn't follow him to Rolling Stone from True/Slant, Matt Taibbi posted in a similar vein.

Chez said...

I know Taibbi moved and is blogging exclusively at RS now, but I hadn't yet read his take on it.

Logan's actually a really smart lady, which is what makes it such a shock that she said something so jaw-droppingly stupid.

Che Grovera said...

And to be fair to the military, if they believe that a piece is balanced, they will let you back.

There's her whole argument laid bare. And if they don't believe that a piece is balanced? Then what? I believe the technical term for this is "brown-nosing"...

Chez said...

It's just stunning the level of disconnect from the traditional, proper role of a journalist. At no point should the military, the government, the establishment in general regard you as a friend. As Hastings himself said, you're not trying to be hostile -- but you are supposed to be skeptical and adversarial, otherwise you're just a stenographer. Or worse -- an unwitting hagiographer.

Steven Lloyd Wilson said...

I think a little Hunter S. Thompson applies:

"Some people will say that words like scum and rotten are wrong for Objective Journalism — which is true, but they miss the point. It was the built-in blind spots of the Objective rules and dogma that allowed Nixon to slither into the White House in the first place. He looked so good on paper that you could almost vote for him sight unseen. He seemed so all-American, so much like Horatio Alger, that he was able to slip through the cracks of Objective Journalism. You had to get Subjective to see Nixon clearly, and the shock of recognition was often painful."

cgwalt said...

Wow. Just wow. The clubby we-all-know-how-the-game-is-played vibe sucks.
I hope Hastings gets the Pulitzer for this.
And Logan? a long look in the mirror might be warranted.

Chez said...

Once again, I've always thought Logan was a decent enough reporter -- but I have no doubt that she already spends plenty of time looking in the mirror.

bill bush said...

This post deserves to be tatted onto the foreheads of the talking heads so that when they chat together they will be forced to confront it. Can you imagine the Sunday chatathons with their members forced to confront their phoniness?

focom said...

I don't really get the "monumental" piece characterization other than this is one of the first, and likely last, times that a journalist who is given access, reported on off the record isues. thre is no way a command staff would speak so freely in front of someone if they didn't feel they had groundrules to protect them.

The only impact that I can see is that when a general is (O.K., I'll say it) mocking the politicians that openly, then maybe we should rethink our strategy.

From Hannibal to Patton to Franks, many a well crafted military strategy has been fucked up by civilian oversight becoming civilian ground control.

Chez said...

You're right, in that it's relative in the current media climate when discussing what constitutes "monumental." That said, it was an epochal piece when you consider what it exposed which isn't normally exposed these days -- and yes, the impact is incalculable in that it has the potential to change the course of the war (even if slightly), having already changed the course of history. That's not an overstatement.

Deacon Blue said...

I think it's worth point out, for those out there who aren't savvy about the world of journalism, that for all the integrity and value of Hastings' piece, and all the hypocrisy of Logans' diatribe...what is really at issue here is more detailed and investigative reporting...upper echelon kinds of journalism. These are people who are being paid well enough to dig deep into the stories and who have networks of contacts that they can tap.

This is a big difference from a daily news reporter or someone like me, who's covering pharmaceutical business deals for people in the pharma industry, and while I'll get the occasional nugget of "revealing" news, it isn't my job to uncover much of anything secret but to keep people posted on what deals are going on and why (more or less).

Like any occupation, there are different strata of journalism. What Hastings did is the kind of thing that Rolling Stone articles and other major magazine exposes and articles should be doing. This is the kind of thing that 24/7 cable news networks should be doing. This is the kind of thing major market papers should be doing. Because they have the means to do so.

That so few of them actually do and that so many seem flustered by what Hastings did is testament to how often mediocrity rises to the top and how often the people who can do investigative work (and want to) are often left covering the more run of the mill news or never get a chance to rise (and shine)

Ref said...

I'm not a sexist. Really, I'm not. This woman, however, just begs for the descriptive appellation, "TWAT!"