60 ahead, burn bridges.
FROM "THE 36 HOURS THAT SHOOK WASHINGTON" BY FRANK RICH IN THE NEW YORK TIMES
POLITICO THEORIZED THAT [Rolling Stone freelancer Michael] Hastings had pulled off his impertinent coup because he was a freelance journalist rather than a beat reporter, and so could risk "burning bridges by publishing many of McChrystal's remarks."
That sentence was edited out of the article--in a routine updating, said Politico--after the blogger Andrew Sullivan highlighted it as a devastating indictment of a Washington media elite too cozy with and protective of its sources to report the unvarnished news.
In any event, Politico had the big picture fight. It's the Hastings-esque outsiders with no fear of burning bridges who have often uncovered the epochal stories missed by those with high-level access. Woodward and Bernstein were young local reporters, nowhere near the White House beat, when they cracked Watergate. Seymour Hersh was a freelancer when he broke My Lai. It was uncelebrated reporters in Knight Ridder's Washington bureau, not journalistic stars courted by Scooter and Wolfowitz, who mined low-level agency hands to challenge the "slam-dunk" W.M.D. intelligence in the run-up to Iraq.
Symbolically enough, Hastings was reporting his McChrystal story abroad just as Beltway media heavies and their most bold-faced subjects were dressing up for the annual White House correspondents' dinner.
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Title Annotation:||COMMENTS & CORRESPONDENCE|
|Publication:||Editor & Publisher|
|Article Type:||Letter to the editor|
|Date:||Aug 1, 2010|
|Previous Article:||SEC, cure thyself: Congress must step in to stop the agency's 'securities fraud' threat to journalists.|
|Next Article:||Lordy, Lordy, Mr. Black.|