It gets worse before it gets better
January 28, 2005 6:57 AM   Subscribe

Iraq - Pulitzer prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh shares his thoughts on the path of america. (streaming video and audio, transcript included. Video is long, 20 minutes 49 seconds. Worth watching) Seymour Hersh works for the newyorker. He is best known for breaking the My Lai massacre story from Vietnam.
posted by sourbrew (24 comments total)
He's probably better known now for breaking Abu Ghraib. Great reporter.
posted by painquale at 7:44 AM on January 28, 2005

In this era of shiny happy people hack journalism and shady ethics, I don't think that there's a voice in mainstream media I trust more than Hersh's, for his integrity, his steadfastness and his courage. He does tend to draw up worst case scenarios for the future more often than not, but he has earned the right to be heard.
posted by psmealey at 7:46 AM on January 28, 2005

Please be gentle on Democracy Now's servers. Here's an alternate link for the audio of that day's show on
posted by melt away at 8:04 AM on January 28, 2005

Speaking as a journalist myself, Hersh is a hero.

I heard a great story about him. Hersh's editor in chief -- his boss, in other words -- at the New Yorker is the formidable David Remnick. Basically, when your editor in chief calls you, you take the call, and if you're a magazine journalist, a call from Remnick is a major event.

One day Remnick called Hersh, and Hersh snapped, "Oh David, I can't talk now, I'm on the phone with a four-star general!"
posted by digaman at 8:47 AM on January 28, 2005

The last link on this FPP should be this one:

THE COMING WARS: What the Pentagon can now do in secret. []
posted by gen at 8:53 AM on January 28, 2005

I want to have eight trillion of his babies. And I don't even like babies.
posted by Lady Penelope at 9:03 AM on January 28, 2005

With all due respect for Hersh and those who greatly admire him, here is a piece that deconstructs Hersh and makes the case that he is as often wrong and unscholarly as he is right. Ball in your court now.,0,50014.column?coll=la-home-utilities
posted by Postroad at 9:05 AM on January 28, 2005

can we just put him and robert fisk together and start a new, reliable media outlet, beholden to nothing but journalistic integrity and the search for the truth? maybe we could find a soros-type to indiscriminantly fund it without oversight.

maybe i should change my name to polyanna.
posted by blendor at 9:15 AM on January 28, 2005

Just to be picky, he's a journalist, not an academic, so he shouldn't be scholarly.

Love the New Yorker.
posted by scazza at 9:17 AM on January 28, 2005

Postroad, do you think it really makes any such case? As I read it, the LA Times article is mostly an ad hominem polemic, accusing Hersh of numerous and mostly unspecified errors of fact (the few he does list seem like honest mistakes at the worst), and that he is always interested in making "the U.S. government look bad". As if the government needs help doing that!

The final statement is the kicker:

That Hersh remains a revered figure in American journalism suggests that the media have yet to recover from the paranoid style of the 1960s.

This coiuld have come right out of the National Review.
posted by psmealey at 9:25 AM on January 28, 2005

Wikipedia's article on Max Boot (the author of the piece criticising Hersh) provides some useful background.
posted by simonw at 9:32 AM on January 28, 2005

Concerning his use of "anonymous sources," it's not like the sources aren't verified. The New Yorker staff investigates all of his sources (and they have one of the most renowned fact-checking departments). Furthermore, in an administration in which any viewpoint outside of the president's is tantamount to treason, do you expect anyone to speak up less than anonymously?

Yep! Still want to have his babies.
posted by Lady Penelope at 9:44 AM on January 28, 2005

Ball in your court now.

Max Boot (the author of the piece criticising Hersh)
Hahaha!!! Like a frog calling someone ugly!

Ball in your court now.
posted by nofundy at 9:54 AM on January 28, 2005

Amusing that Max Boot's article contains an allegation based on a factual error. Advantage Hersh.
posted by fleacircus at 10:06 AM on January 28, 2005

Neither Boot nor anyone else on the right has ever forgiven Hersh for his reporting on My Lai. Won't ever forgive him, as it's the right's view that the fact My Lai was reported harmed America, not the fact that it actually, y'know, happened.
posted by kgasmart at 10:08 AM on January 28, 2005

the fact My Lai was reported harmed America, not the fact that it actually, y'know, happened.

Yep - the view that Vietnam wasn't a failure of policy - it was a failure of public relations.
posted by ao4047 at 10:20 AM on January 28, 2005

I enjoy reading Hersh and believe his reporting is reliable. He does seem to enjoy telling anecdotes during interviews and speeches that are not as rigoursly fact-checked as the New Yorker articles.

There was an interesting article from the October 24, 2004 New York Observer
( - I can not get link command to work) about the difference between his articles and interviews/speeches.

“Don’t hold me to this, because, you know, The New Yorker has this great fact-checking system,” he [Hersh] told the ACLU before bringing up the vanished $1 billion. “This is just something I’ve heard.”
posted by mlis at 10:22 AM on January 28, 2005

The last link on this FPP should be this one:

THE COMING WARS: What the Pentagon can now do in secret. []
posted by gen at 11:53 AM EST on January 28

Thats what the last link is good sir, i just didn't title it in that way.

If you guys haven't been able to check out the video you should, as MLIS pointed out he enjoys telling anecdotes and he elaborates on the picture put forth in the new yorker of the prisoner being tortured with two german shepherds, he eludes to later photos that never hit the press etc... in fact there are a couple really good anecdotes in the video.
posted by sourbrew at 11:16 AM on January 28, 2005

Hidden away in there is an unintentional quote that perfectly sums up the difficulty that the USA has in Iraq, this will cost a lot of lives and rend both societies.

PERLE: I see no sensitivity in your argument to the plight of the Iraqi people, none whatsoever. And it's tragic, because Iraqis are (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
posted by milkwood at 11:24 AM on January 28, 2005

Hersh is speaking in Sweden in March, but I can't f-ing afford to go see him. Would love to, though. The man's a hero.
posted by mr.marx at 11:42 AM on January 28, 2005

He's one of the half-dozen people who's example pushed me toward pursuing journalism after high school.

When I later found out that he wasn't merely a rare animal but virtually unique, I reconsidered.

I'd put him on the short list for cloning. A brilliant ethical mind in a time where such a gift is mocked instead of revered.
posted by chicobangs at 11:54 AM on January 28, 2005

i've just finished chain of command by him, and agree, he's a real journalist. excellent stuff.
posted by quarsan at 12:37 AM on January 29, 2005

Max Boot! That can't be his real name. It's like being named Sergeant Slaughter or Corporal Punishment. Completely fake.

As for the incorrect numbers on war planes - I'd like to see where "Max Boot" gets his numbers from considering that he already made a huge mistake in attributing the date of Hersh's article. Something you can look up in Google.
posted by destro at 9:41 AM on January 29, 2005

yeah, three cheers for Mr. Hersh...after watching this I scrolled past CNN only to see pure fluff reported as news. *sigh* I often wonder why there are so few voices of reason in our media...
posted by gren at 10:26 PM on January 29, 2005

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