Dave Weigel, Stan McChrystal shared a mistake, and a fate

Journalists should report the news, not become the news. But sometimes life doesn’t work that way.

Michael Hastings, for example, has become part of the story that he wrote for Rolling Stone that ended the career of Gen. Stanley McChrystal. The general’s staff feels betrayed by Hastings’ reporting; Hastings believes he has acted professionally.

I have no idea what ground rules were set between Hastings and McChrystal’s staff or in what setting the reported quotes were made. My own rule is that anything said with either party holding an alcoholic beverage is off the record unless it is stated otherwise. (Jamie McIntyre has a good discussion of the dance between source and reporter in such situations.)

To a large degree, a reporter’s decision is driven by what kind of game he or she is hunting. If you’re seeking things such as comprehension, context and explanation to share with your readers, you don’t do what Hastings did. You let the potentially sensationalistic things slide — within reason — for the chance to get at something more important.

Hastings took another, to my mind lesser approach. Whether he misled McChrystal’s staff into thinking he was taking the first approach, when in fact he was taking the second, is something only he and they know, and I doubt the truth is clear to either.

Dave Weigel, until yesterday a writer at the Washington Post who covered the conservative movement, has also become a news subject. Weigel made the mistake of posting emails to a semi-private journalist listserv that were harshly critical of figures in the conservative movement.

“This would be a vastly better world to live in if Matt Drudge decided to handle his emotional problems more responsibly, and set himself on fire,” one email read.

“It’s all very amusing to me,” another read. “Two hundred screaming Ron Paul fanatics couldn’t get their man into the Fox News New Hampshire GOP debate, but Fox News is pumping around the clock to get Paultard Tea Party people on TV.”

The emails were leaked to a conservative blog, and Weigel was forced to resign. That has angered more than a few Washington journalists, who believe Weigel was betrayed and should not have been forced out.

“On a few occasions, Dave, like plenty of others sharing thoughts on a private email list, shared some uncharitable words and opinions about others,” Steve Benen writes. “What’s wrong with that? Nothing; he was among friends.

“Or so we thought. Someone — it remains unclear who — decided to try to destroy Dave professionally by leaking emails from the list. Tragically, it worked.”

There’s a common thread through both stories. Hastings’ bottom-line argument in the McChrystal case is that nothing is really off the record, and as a practical matter that’s true. The general and his staff placed their fate in the hands of a reporter who saw their arrangement differently than they did, and they paid heavily for that mistake.

But that is also the rule that tripped up Weigel. Nothing is really off the record, including emails posted to a semi-private listserv. He never should have written what he did. He placed his fate in the hands of the 400 or so people with access to that listserv, some of whom he barely knew and maybe didn’t know at all, and one of them cost him his job.

Weigel made the same mistake that McChrystal made, and the Post had no choice but to let Weigel go, just as President Obama had no choice but to dismiss McChrystal.

The sword slices both ways.

331 comments Add your comment

Kamchak

June 26th, 2010
9:58 am

Trom TBogg

Expecting Dave Weigel to report on [teabaqqers] and not point out that they are bitter low-information lawn-chair-bound racists is like asking Jane Goodall to omit any mention of the fact that her research centers around, you know, monkeys.

Kamchak

June 26th, 2010
9:59 am

“From” not Trom.

Geez–too much coffee.

Jay

June 26th, 2010
10:01 am

Kamchak, I strongly disagree with TBogg on that.

Soothsayer

June 26th, 2010
10:07 am

In other words–if you don’t want the entire world to know about it keep your yap shut.

griftdrift

June 26th, 2010
10:09 am

So Jay. Only literal speech is proper now?

GDI

June 26th, 2010
10:12 am

McCrystal’s first mistake was allowing such an unprofessional atmosphere go unchecked in his staff. His second mistake was allowing unfettered access to a writer who he should have known would be extremely hostile to the military. Given our country’s policy of civilian control of the military President Obama had little choice. Hastings fate just illustrates that, despite their protests to the contrary, the medias objectivity is very much open to question. Any one who watch’s Hannity, Beck Olberman or Maddow has to admit that both ends of the spectrum are biased toward their political beliefs. The line between reporting and commentary were demolished years ago.

Jay

June 26th, 2010
10:15 am

No Grift, it’s not about literal vs. figurative. It’s about journalistic credibility. You’ve argued yourself that journalistic standards are different than blogger standards. This is such a case. As a reporter, Weigel had no business making such comments in what amounts to a semi-public forum. Personally, I wouldn’t make them in any setting, and as an opinion monger I have more leeway than he did.

Kamchak

June 26th, 2010
10:18 am

Jay

Well–stereotyping a movement based on those that the press choose to put in front of a camera would be considered making too much stew from just a few oysters.

griftdrift

June 26th, 2010
10:21 am

No, Jay. It’s about writing. And if you had read my writings for the past three years you would know that my arguments were much more nuanced than “journalistic standards are different than blogger standards”. Allegory, figurative writing and even hyperbole are critical tools in the tool box of any writer. To take those away, even from journalists, would be to present a lobotomized child as a brain surgeon. Do you believe Weigel literally wanted Drudge to self-immolate himself? At what point do you as a journalist stand up and say as Hastings did, I am not a stenographer.

vince neil

June 26th, 2010
10:27 am

of course there is also one fact not noted here….Mc and his staff were absolutely correct in their assessment of the issues at hand…Wiegel is a douchebag….

Jay

June 26th, 2010
10:27 am

No, of course I don’t think that. Figurative vs. literal is not the issue here in any sense whatsoever. Has anyone made the argument that Weigel literally wanted Drudge dead? If so, he or she is a fool. That’s not what this is about. That’s like claiming that McChrystal’s staff member thought James Jones wore funny shoes and a red nose when he called Jones a clown.

Jay

June 26th, 2010
10:30 am

And sorry Grift, hyperbole is not a valid tool in the hands of a reporter. For a columnist, a blogger? Yes.

A reporter, no.

Kamchak

June 26th, 2010
10:34 am

At what point does journalistic standards end and political correctness begins?

Scout

June 26th, 2010
10:41 am

On thing I learned in my 37 years of service to this country …………….. never, ever, EVER trust the liberal Press to be fair, accurate or professional.

“Liberal” and those three words just don’t match ……….. right Dan Rather?

GDI

June 26th, 2010
10:44 am

The correctness of McChrystal’s opinions and those of his staff are not the issue. Read the “good order and discipline” section of the UCMJ. As field grade officers and above if the could not in good conscience support the CIC’s policies they should have resigned.

Scout

June 26th, 2010
10:46 am

…….. and Jay before you start:

I have been inacurrate before on these posts from quoting someone, etc. I when I find out I correct it and admit it.

Liberals (with rare exceptions) don’t do that …………. and I point to some of your “justifiable homicide statistics” editorials as proof.

kayaker 71

June 26th, 2010
10:47 am

A four star general in today’s Army is about as close to a legal dictatorship as possible. They are in ultimate control of their surroundings, have immediate and sometimes devastating control over their subordinates and an ego about as big as it gets. But you get what you pay for.
After reading the RS article, it is obvious that McChrystal was still enamored with his Special Ops persona when it describes his partying episodes with his immediate staff. You might win a lot of friends by being their buddy but the relationship suffers when discipline is needed. His subordinates emulate his behavior, probably drink the same beer, share his opinions and rarely disagree with him or his policies. He would probably be described as a loose cannon by 4 star standards and that attitude rubs off on your staff when questioned about their opinion, especially when their spin is so different that their pimp CIC. They don’t appear to think much of their CIC but blabbing to some reporter from RS lost their boss his job. Don’t expect the same from Patraeus.

Scout

June 26th, 2010
10:48 am

GDI:

You are correct and concerning the Vietnam debacle, Commandant of the Marine Corps Greene later stated his biggest regret is that the Joint Chiefs of Staff did not resign “en masse” over the inane policies of Johnson/McNamara. It would have made a difference and saved lives.

griftdrift

June 26th, 2010
10:49 am

Fine. Hyperbole I’ll give you (although, I’ll have to pay penance at my Hunter S. Thompson shrine). But you said….

“He never should have written what he did”

Please clarify Jay. Do you mean he shouldn’t have written what he did because it might cost him his job? Or do you mean as a reporter he shouldn’t have written it at all?

And yes that’s a tiger and the lady question because either way you’re in trouble. If it’s the first then it re-inforces that we live in the age of the spineless weasals where calling someone a horse’s rear when he’s acting like a horse’s rear is punishable by the harshest strop.

If the second is true, then we live in an age where we expect journalists to be mindless robots who spew forth carefully parsed pieces of code to satisfy the ombudsmen overlords who have been peddling the “liberal media” myth for decades.

And as far as what’s appropriate for journalist vs. bloggers? Still that debate writhes in the mud. The fact that you continue to point to this narrowing chasm (as are the sniping weasals at The Post) shows me that little has changed in the past three years. And for every step forward there are two steps back (steps forward like Travis Fain and Blake Aued, who do not behave that differently from Weigel and seem to understand you can be a reporter and still be human).

There was a chance once upon a time for both venues to become something better, but that was abandoned when the “journalists” steadfastly refused to even have the conversation. Now that you’ve realized your fate is hopelessly entwined with the fate of the new world, you rush to embrace our worst habits, yet still hold your nose in the air and tut tut when it is convenient.

What a house we have all built.

Scout

June 26th, 2010
10:49 am

kayaker 71:

I believe you are correct. The “regular Army brass” doesn’t care all that much for “special ops.”.

AmVet

June 26th, 2010
10:52 am

The chickenhawk infested Republicons love their disgraced military officers. For example, look at how the dishonorable, indicted, unapologetic and convicted Ollie North is a beloved darling of the idiots and Masters of Misinformation on far right wing talk radio and TV.

Like his unindicted co-conspirator Reagan, and countless subsequent neo-cons, he took the US Constitution and wiped his imperious arse with that sacred document.

And to be certain this guy certainly holds no candle to that shameful scofflaw, but this is nonetheless humorous: Washington (CNN) — In the Rolling Stone article that got him fired, Gen. Stanley McChrystal says of the aides who surround him “I’d die for them. And they’d die for me.” But the military men around McChrystal are now silent.

Honor amongst big mouthed fools?

kayaker 71

June 26th, 2010
11:08 am

AmVet,

Presidents of all political stripes have been “wiping their Imperious arse’s with the Constitution” for as long as I have been a voter. McChrystal and his staff are far from big mouthed fools. They are probably good soldiers, doing a thankless job in the most arduous conditions without much of a hope of winning and led by a CIC who has no previous military experience trying to direct a winless war, impeding success by his rules of engagement and trusting an Afghan government who is about corrupt as the one we have in Washington. Patraeus doesn’t have a prayer of turning this around but that does not make the ones that are dying out there “big mouthed fools”. A poor choice of words.

Michael

June 26th, 2010
11:09 am

The McChrystal-Hastings flap is a huge predicament for many “beat” reporters. Hastings heard, and reported, extremely newsworthy remarks — similar I’m sure to remarks the beat reporters have also heard in their travels, but did NOT report. Sure, the latter felt bound to silence by their ground rules. But now they might have to ask themselves if they were really doing the public a service by agreeing (implicitly or explicitly) to those ground rules. Unwilling to face that important question head-on, some journos would rather claim that Hastings was implicitly subject to those same ground rules, even if he did not explicitly agree to them.

RW-(the original)

June 26th, 2010
11:10 am

Here’s a little one stop shopping on the Weigel story

Rateffing??? You libs sure are a colorful lot when you think you’re alone.

AmVet

June 26th, 2010
11:17 am

I have been inacurrate (sic) before on these posts…

The most hysterical understatement of the month…

71, Presidents of all political stripes have been “wiping their Imperious arse’s with the Constitution” for as long as I have been a voter.

I could not possibly agree more. It’s time for Hope & Change to put an end to that. HA!

Notwithstanding your accurate counter-points, I stick by the assertion. A graduate of the US Military Academy *especially* should keep his opinions to himself rather than let his alcohol-influenced loose lips sink ships.

http://humour.200ok.com.au/image_nicebigcup.html

md

June 26th, 2010
11:24 am

“But now they might have to ask themselves if they were really doing the public a service by agreeing (implicitly or explicitly) to those ground rules. ”

When one no longer plays within the rules, highly likely one no longer gets to play the game.

Hastings won the battle but most likely lost the war – no one in their right mind will ever have enough confidence in the man to ever have him around, and will zip it when he is. He essentially screwed himself along with McChrystal.

stands for decibels

June 26th, 2010
11:25 am

Kamchak, I strongly disagree with TBogg on that.

Yeah, but it was funny.

stands for decibels

June 26th, 2010
11:26 am

BTW Jay, nice Weigel/McChrystal comparo; if you were the first to make it, kudos.

Jay

June 26th, 2010
11:31 am

Grift, I choose Option No. 2, although the way you have phrased it makes both choices a dead end.

To explain further, I am not and never have been a proponent of the he-said she-said model of journalism, in which you quote both sides and pretend to have been objective and done your job. That’s lazy and cheap. But when you try to reach beyond that, when you decide to call a spade a spade, you need to do so with facts and reasoned language, not hyperbole and cheap shots. In my understanding of my profession, I wouldn’t have said to my wife the things that Weigel put into a semi-public place. And again, I’ve an opinion writer, not a reporter, so I have more leeway than he does.

You cite Travis Fain. To my knowledge, nothing he has written comes close to what Weigel wrote on that listserv. And I would be very surprised if he did, because Fain strikes me as too smart to sacrifice his crediblity that cheaply.

As to the blogger/journalist conversation you cite, I can only speak for myself. I haven’t refused to engage in it. That’s what we’re doing right at the moment. Nor have I rushed to embrace your worst habits, as you put it. In fact, I am doing precisely the opposite in arguing that a reporter and blogger must have different standards and different measures of credibility.

I note that you seem to want it both ways. You accuse us of adopting the worst habits of bloggers AND accuse us of holding our noses in the air and tut-tutting when we decline to adopt those same habits.

Weigel is not a blogger. He is a reporter. There is and ought to be a difference — not a difference of merit or standing, necessarily, but a difference of function that requires a difference in behavior.

Michael

June 26th, 2010
11:36 am

md, I agree. No one in his right mind will ever again assume that Hastings is part of the steno pool.

Dusty

June 26th, 2010
11:41 am

As far as I can see here, “there is no honor among theives” nor is there honor among journalists or reporters or whatever you want to be called in the writing world.

The majority of journalists no longer know what is right or wrong but have to be told in order to get it right. A private party and they tell all? Private? Friends get together and journalists think it is open season to catch some “incriminating” word or suggestion ! Journalists that act like bloggers?

As we see here, there are no longer personal ethics in the world of journalism. Some get fired for breaking the “newspaper rules’ or possibly breaking the political leaning of certain publications. Ethics have nothing to do with it, probably because there are none.

I wonder about war time reporters like Ernie Pyle who were held in such respect. Did they have to be told what was permissable or even poltically correct? I doubt it. It was the era of ethics and honesty in publication and above all, the printed support of the troops. That era seems long gone.

josef nix

June 26th, 2010
11:43 am

I’m always amused how we, and I include myself, jump on the sound bite bandwagon and draw all manner of conclusions. When President Obama sacked McChrystal, the Obama can do no wrong crowd here didn’t miss a beat in determining the general one of the “right wing nuts” and already had him hired by Fox News as a commentator. It turns out the good general is pretty liberal and holds Fox in particularly low esteem, and is on record as having said he voted for Obama. The Obama can do no right faction jumped just as quick in defending “one of ours”and did the same thing, blaming the libs for the downfall of this great American hero.

A similar thing is happening with Hastings. To those who despise the press, he’s the devil incarnate. To those who actually pretend to believe that journalists have no personal bias, he was “just doing his job.”

The issue is both men broke with established protocol. It is not a left-right, conservative-liberal issue. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

RW-(the original)

June 26th, 2010
11:49 am

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

Clinton basher…..

md

June 26th, 2010
11:51 am

“To those who actually pretend to believe that journalists have no personal bias”

And that is where the “art of journalism” comes into play – to me, a really good journalist is one that seems neutral even when they aren’t.

As for devil incarnate – nah, slimball is more like it.

Protocol?? – Died at the SOTU address.

md

June 26th, 2010
11:53 am

That would be slimball with an e.

Davo

June 26th, 2010
11:53 am

It’s all pretty hilarious.. Bookman explaining how the press is ’supposed to work’, as if he would know. Notice how theres no admission that ‘yes, this is just the way it is, you really shouldn’t trust the MSM because we all got our heads jammed way up the poiticians behinds, cause we sure don’t want to upset our sources.’

Hopefully this will end the farce that is ‘embedded reporters’ and we can get some real journalism back in this nation.

Dusty

June 26th, 2010
11:56 am

RW (the original)

Haven’t you heard? A cigar is just a cigar?

No indeed . It is a conspiracy. Hillary knows one when she sees it. Conspiracy, that is.

josef nix

June 26th, 2010
11:57 am

RW

:-)

But that Clinton thing…so what if he got a piece on the side? Shoot, if I had to go home to Stand by Your Man Hillary, I would, too. tThe only thing he did “wrong” was choosing blabber mouths. He should have remembered that discretion is the greater part of valor. Sure, I’d like to hold the President to a higher standard of behavior, and I’d also like everyone to live together in peace and harmony, but…

RW-(the original)

June 26th, 2010
11:57 am

Dusty,

And a vast right wing conspiracy at that.

RW-(the original)

June 26th, 2010
12:00 pm

choosing blabber mouths.

Well if she could have kept her mouth closed there would have been a lot less evidence on the blue dress….

I’m going to ban myself for a few hours now

See y’all

josef nix

June 26th, 2010
12:01 pm

md

My objection to the state of journalism today is that subtlety is a lost art. It’s not that there is a bias, it’s the d*mnably low level of its presentation…

Dusty

June 26th, 2010
12:07 pm

RW mmmmm

Methinks Josef flies on the loose feathered liberal wing of cupidous conspiracy. Better watch the messages from this carrier pigeon of peace and harmony. He’s got a gleam in his eye.

josef nix

June 26th, 2010
12:08 pm

Dusty

Nanh. I’m on the conservative side in that one…sssh DADT :-)

Scout

June 26th, 2010
12:09 pm

AmVet:

LOL @ U !

md

June 26th, 2010
12:09 pm

“My objection to the state of journalism today is that subtlety is a lost art. It’s not that there is a bias, it’s the d*mnably low level of its presentation…”

And that goes back to the lost art form………..

RW-(the original)

June 26th, 2010
12:11 pm

Oh one last thing before my self-imposed exile. Since McChrystal says he resigned and Obama says he accepted the resignation where does it fall on the journalistic ethics meter to say McChrystal was fired?

Bye!

Scout

June 26th, 2010
12:13 pm

To my conservative allies:

Check this out (liberals DO NOT watch …. I will not be responsible) …………..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzDlN7VLmXQ&feature=player_embedded

griftdrift

June 26th, 2010
12:15 pm

Where were you Jay three years ago when Suzanne Capaluto called us entertainers? Where you all those times that sites like Decatur Metro and inDecatur were covering news in their town while the AJC was pulling out? Where were you when dorablog broke one of the biggest local news stories of the year? Where were you when one of your colleagues told me to my face he would never quote a blogger?

Where Jay? Bully for you for finally walking into the party. Pardon me for not noting your arrival as I try to weave my way between all the staggering drunks who are so anxious to guzzle the alcohol they no longer can differentiate between Johnny Walker and Schlitz.

Welcome to the year of jubilee. The old media now engages us. They talk to us. They link to us.

They link to rumor mills like Peach Pundit. They link to shameless purveyors of other people’s work like Georgia Liberal.

Are their different standards? Three years ago, I would have said there doesn’t have to be. There is a way for all of us to live together. Follow parallel tracks. We could be tips of the spear while you could be the haft. We can both adapt to this new world, learn from each other and make something better. Something greater.

And after three years of screaming in the wilderness where are we? Back to square one. No, make that square two. Square one was you just plainly ignoring what was good. Square two is you thumping your chest with pride about how you are engaged, enabling the very things which disturbed you such a short time ago and privately (and in this case not so privately) continuing your mantra of the lesser vs. the noble.

The trees are different but the wilderness remains.

Jay

June 26th, 2010
12:19 pm

Ah, the airing of grievances. It must be Festivus.

josef nix

June 26th, 2010
12:20 pm

RW
@12:11

“Since McChrystal says he resigned and Obama says he accepted the resignation where does it fall on the journalistic ethics meter to say McChrystal was fired?”

“When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”

griftdrift

June 26th, 2010
12:22 pm

Nope. I just got tired of having “the conversation” when it was apparent very few were willing to listen.

josef nix

June 26th, 2010
12:23 pm

JAY
It’s hot in Georgia this time of year and people get edgy!

Dusty

June 26th, 2010
12:24 pm

There’s no bias in today’s journalism? That is the art form itself. If you can’t get in a few quiet below the belt punches for your “side’, you haven’t created a thing. We know what is set in stone here. We know the lieutenants and the junior grades in liberal art here at AJC. We also know the blue steel boundaries of conservatives Who crosses the line? A drive by now and then!! Not the fully employed.

So it goes at the newspaper museum of directed arts and blogging bits. On you mark!! Goooo!

And I am gone to the allure of a lovely BLT. Delicious!!

Scout

June 26th, 2010
12:26 pm

josef:

HA !

I caught Walter Cronkite in a direct false statement on national news about an incident that supposedly happened at UGA during the May Day demonstrations of 1970. Liberal reporters never change …………… that taught me a lesson then I have never forgotten.

Matti

June 26th, 2010
12:32 pm

Going Gonzo: WWHSTW?

He shot himself out of that cannon too early. I would have enjoyed his personalized, embedded accounts of Tea Party events.

josef nix

June 26th, 2010
12:38 pm

Scout
And I would add, neither do the conservative ones.

My example…
Back at about the same time you’re talking about, the schools in my city were going through the court ordered desegregation. All the high schools in the city except ours had been closed at one time or another to quell racial tensions/violence. Now at my school we were very proud of our record, but everybody else was getting out of school and we weren’t. So, a couple of the students concocted a bomb to be set off at lunch in a disused section of the school. Most of us knew about it and I made it a point to be right behind a despised coach in the chow line. The effect of the explosion was spectacular even beyond its engineers. I dumped my tray on the coach. We all got to go stand in the rain for a few hours. Well, when I got to work that evening at the local daily, I was reading over the article going into the paper which was making a racial incident of it (see what desegregation has brought us? The paper was arch conservative). I went to the editor and told him that this was not the case. The two engineers were one black and one white. Off the record, of course, That meant nothing. It didn’t fit the bias. Now, somebody researching today and using the paper as a source will state that all the city’s schools were closed at one time or another due to racial tensions. Nope. One was closed due to racial harmony!

kayaker 71

June 26th, 2010
12:41 pm

“Opinion reporters?” “Journalists?” “Talking heads?” Bookman, when are you going to admit that Yellow Journalism rules the day? You have to sell newspapers and air time. Your bosses demand that you produce a product that enrages, stimulates, creates questions, pisses people off, infuriates and at the same time passes for some definition of “journalism”. The ethics of what you and others like you do is many times lost in translation and hidden under the banner of “editorial” content. Tucker does the same thing. She often says, “I’m an editorial or opinion writer and therefore I have the right to fill the page with my own opinions”, no matter whether or not accuracy has any importance. Opinions are like a$$holes….. everyone has one. But don’t confuse opinion commentary with journalism. Apples and bananas.

Scout

June 26th, 2010
12:44 pm

This Is Amazing :

Decision to use on-duty officers for funeral procession of David Brown Jr. spurs outrage
11:54 PM Fri, Jun 25, 2010

“A cop-killer who is the son of the Dallas police chief continued to stir deep emotions Friday as he headed to his grave.

An apparent last-minute decision by a deputy police chief to provide assistance during part of David Brown Jr.’s funeral procession angered some police associations.”

My comments: If there were traffic safety issues then there should NOT have been a procession. Everyone should have been told (including the police chief) to get to the grave site as best they could. The cop killer wasn’t going anywhere and would be at the cemetary waiting. To ask officers (who had just lost one of their own to this perp.) to escort the procession is the heighth of arrogance ……….. but not surprising.

http://crimeblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2010/06/decision-to-use-on-duty-office.html

Scout

June 26th, 2010
12:49 pm

josef:

I hear you and that’s why I always say (if I remember) that there are “exceptions” to the rules. However, there is no comparison in the ethical behavior of liberal vs. conservative journalists. Conservatives have higher ethics hands down. One man’s opinion ……… from experience …… :o

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it !

Matti

June 26th, 2010
12:53 pm

jo nix,

What a nice story! I always say there are at least two sides to every story. Ususally more. The facts as they are reported and documented for history might well be true, but chances are better than not that they only reflect part of story.

Local author Lisa McLeod writes about the “Triangle of Truth.” (She also gives motivational speeches for companies who don’t want to shell out for raises but still want to pretend they’re giving their people something of value.) The premise: My truth might be different from your truth, but one does not negate the other. Like the eight blind men and the elephant, each perception is valid, though very different from another’s. It’s the BIG PICTURE that brings it all into focus. And it’s through looking at all the different truths that real solutions can be found.

The problem with modern “journalism” is that most reporters and pundits only want one truth to be known. We need (1) more big-picture reporting, (2) longer attention spans in order to process something more than a soundbite we can fling across the fence like a hunk of poo, and (3) to let go of poo flinging as a substitute for objective thinking, articulate communication, and a meaningful national passtime.

getalife

June 26th, 2010
12:57 pm

Corporate media making excuses after one reporter does his job to make them look bad is hilarious.

Reporters should rotate jobs so they are not the corrupt politician’s friends.

Perhaps this reporter set an example on getting the truth without spin and instead of making excuses, follow his lead.

Russ555

June 26th, 2010
12:59 pm

Reminds my of the John Rocker story. John was told the story would be about hunting and fishing. He thought all his comments on other subjects were off the record. They were printed. I thought the reporter was wrong in printing the comments.
Hard to say. Printing comments thought to be off the record make journalists look bad and reduces respect for the press.

Scout

June 26th, 2010
1:06 pm

Headline: “As concerns mount about the presence of Asian carp near Lake Michigan, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin today urged President Obama to appoint a “carp czar” to oversee efforts to keep the invasive species out of the Great Lakes.”

Sure, why not ………………. and appoint a “golf czar” while you’re at it.

Jack

June 26th, 2010
1:07 pm

“…..calling a spade a spade..” Can he say that?

Scout

June 26th, 2010
1:08 pm

Headline (NYT) : “WASHINGTON — Stymied by political opposition and focused on competing priorities, the Obama administration has sidelined efforts to close the Guantánamo prison, making it unlikely that President Obama will fulfill his promise to close it before his term ends in 2013.”

Well, well, well ………………………

DebraT

June 26th, 2010
1:10 pm

As Hastings himself said yesterday: “Reporting is what someone somewhere doesn’t want known, everything else is advertising.”
These two reporters didn’t make themselves the story at all – but you’re trying to.
There are some good courses on journalism available in your area BTW.

Scout

June 26th, 2010
1:13 pm

Good Grief !

“Negotiating” used to mean …….. “Fix Bayonets” !

http://www.usatoday.com/news/military/2010-06-24-negotiation_N.htm

TaxPayer

June 26th, 2010
1:13 pm

Perhaps, in this age of reality TV and blogging “reporters” of opinion, subtlety, like fact, have taken a back seat to sensationalism. Hey, could be. Anyway, it sounds good. If only it paid the bills.

Scout

June 26th, 2010
1:16 pm

Debra T.

Question for you ………..

This week, a “sexcapades” story finally broke on Al Gore that a liberal Oregon newspaper had held for two years for lack of evidence, etc. I am sure Al didn’t want that known but nevertheless I think the paper did the right thing by withholding the story.

My point is, had the same paper had the same story on a conservative politician (or even Sarah Palin’s second cousin twice removed) it would have been all over the place immediately.

What say ye?

TaxPayer

June 26th, 2010
1:22 pm

My point is, had the same paper had the same story on a conservative politician (or even Sarah Palin’s second cousin twice removed) it would have been all over the place immediately

You could start by presenting your factual evidence supporting your assumption and then work from there. Then again, you’re not a reporter… or stenographer. Of course, that is more than just my opinion.

Scout

June 26th, 2010
1:25 pm

TaxSlayer:

Good dodge! And thank the Lord I am not a reporter (one of the lowest esteemed professions in the business).

LOL !

HAPPYANUBI

June 26th, 2010
1:26 pm

In other words, conservatives interpret the first amendment as providing corporations with same free speech rights as individuals, as equating journalists to military personnel and as encouraging unauthorized and clandestine disclosure of private correspondence of private citizens to purge and end the careers of those people they don’t like. I always said that Stalin would love these Teabag leaders and intellectuals. They fit perfectly with his own standards of integrity, coherence and ethics.

kayaker 71

June 26th, 2010
1:28 pm

A final McChrystal comment. Snake eaters have never been very good politicians but they come through when you need them. Patton was a snake eater of sorts but he pulled our bacon out of the fire more than once. We must have a civilian controlled military but many times, the CIC is the most inept person in the chain. Can you imagine Bozo, as a private citizen, interviewing for the position of CIC of our military establishment? “Well, I was a community organizer, then I went to Harvard Law School, worked for a law firm briefly, then ran for State Senate, and was elected to the US Senate but only served a short period of time because I was campaigning for President.”
Probably the most important job on this earth and relegated to someone with the experience of Miss Piggy. He can surround himself with all the experts he wants, but the final decision belongs to him. And if he is a stubborn narcissist who is hell bent on improving his image at every opportunity, judgment takes a back seat. The general used poor judgment and his staff was even worse but that doesn’t win us many wars.

getalife

June 26th, 2010
1:30 pm

He should have gone to the gop establishment like Wall Street and ask them “off record” what they thought of the tea party then print it.

Scout

June 26th, 2010
1:33 pm

kayaker 71:

……….. or, if he has a personal agenda.

TaxPayer

June 26th, 2010
1:38 pm

And if he is a stubborn narcissist who is hell bent on improving his image at every opportunity, judgment takes a back seat.

Well, that’s just the kinda guy Bush is.

Michael

June 26th, 2010
1:44 pm

kayaker, you misunderstand the role of the CIC. It isn’t to command troops or write battle plans. It’s to set nation’s foreign policy and objectives — i.e. the mission. War is an instrument of that policy. The generals operate the war-making “instrument” to carry out the CIC’s policy and objectives. If it’s an impossible mission, they need to tell the CIC that — or tell him/her what additional time and resources they would need to carry it out.

Scout

June 26th, 2010
1:58 pm

Michael:

It’s too bad President Johnson didn’t know that during the Vietnam debacle. He used to pick individual targets in North Vietnam as just one example of his interference in tactical decisions.

BTW, McChrystal told Obama “what he needed” and after some delay the President only gave him part of what he asked for. Therefore a politcal vs. tactical decision was made by the “CIC”.

Now, I call ‘em like I see ‘em. Bush/Rumsfield did the same thing on the Iraq War. They tried to do it on the cheap (against the advice of their generals) and it cost American lives.

The same thing is happening right now as we sit here in our air conditioned rooms typing into these here televisions ………….

kayaker 71

June 26th, 2010
2:15 pm

Michael,

It has been a long time since any war did not have some sort of political overtone. WWII was fought to free Western Europe but when the war ended, we handed most of Eastern Europe to the Russians without firing a shot. If most generals really ran the “war making instrument”, we wouldn’t have wars lasting eight or nine years like Vietnam and Afghanistan. A war only lasts that long if the CIC and his civilian government is mired in the political or if we have inadequate force to complete the job. I’ll let you decide what fits.

popeye

June 26th, 2010
2:27 pm

but, but, but….Wasn’t it you who penned this screed?

“OFF TOPIC #1″

From a blogger on a site I was reading:

“The Portland Oregonian is a far-left radical liberal newspaper that’s in the tank with the Democrat Party, and that’s why they killed the story (sexual accusation against Al Gore). Had this been G.W. Bush or any Republican, this same newspaper would have gone balistics with a daily “report”. It’s the same with Obama. There’s no way on the planet that this newspaper, or any Main Stream Media news organization in America, would criticize Obama for anything.”

And, today here you are.

Debra T.

Question for you ………..

This week, a “sexcapades” story finally broke on Al Gore that a liberal Oregon newspaper had held for two years for lack of evidence, etc. I am sure Al didn’t want that known but nevertheless I think the paper did the right thing by withholding the story.

My point is, had the same paper had the same story on a conservative politician (or even Sarah Palin’s second cousin twice removed) it would have been all over the place immediately.

What say ye?

HOW TRUE, HOW TRUE …………….

I guess it was my rebuttal first of all it was not the Oregonian …it was the Tribune (yes, Oregon does have two newspapers) and, second of all the Tribune wrote why they depressed the story.

As Dinah Washington used to sing “What a difference a day makes!”

jt

June 26th, 2010
2:29 pm

I didn’t understand this snafu at first. I do so more now.

It is all indicative of a failed ideaolgy , a wobbling house of cards, po’ed scorpians in a bottle, starving progressives eating their own, rats abandoning ship, soildiers playing dead, desperate politicos pointing fingers or knives, smoking guns, etc……………………………

Remember , for those who subscribe to political correction, NEVER leave a paper or cyber trail.

It lends too much credence to what the majority of patriots already knows.

Paul/Napolitano 2012

Michael

June 26th, 2010
2:40 pm

Kayaker, I think we may be in agreement. The “CIC” isn’t an incompetent commander, just an inept or delusional policy-maker. I had thought you were arguing that someone who lacks military experience shouldn’t be president.

Hillbilly Deluxe

June 26th, 2010
2:41 pm

Until yesterday, I had never heard of Dave Weigel. To me, this falls under “if you’re gonna be dumb, you gotta be tough”.

We all have freedom of speech and can say whatever we please but everybody else has the right to get pissed about what we say. Two people can keep a secret, three or more never can.

As my Grandpa used to tell me, “Boy, never miss a chance to keep your mouth shut”. Sound advice.

Kamchak

June 26th, 2010
2:46 pm

USA down a goal early and on their back heels.

Oy.

Jay

June 26th, 2010
2:47 pm

In addition, popeye, that same newspaper, the Oregonian, took a lot of well-deserved heat a few years back for failing to report allegations of sexual abuse by Sen. Bob Packwood.

Republican Bob Packwood.

popeye

June 26th, 2010
2:53 pm

Jay,

Thanks, Almost forgot about the creep, and yes he was a republican. I voted against him in 68 in favor of one of my heroes Wayne Morse.

Left Oregon before the womanizer ran again.

Scout

June 26th, 2010
3:11 pm

popeye: Sorry, but your point escapes me. Thanks for the reply.

Jay: You can always point to an exception and so can I. The general trend however is that liberal news organizations protect their own as much as possible.

Kind of reminds of “someone” who might fail to include all relevant “statistics” on a certain issue.

Scout

June 26th, 2010
3:16 pm

Hummmm ……………… Let the games begin !

Headline: “Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly is warning that if President Barack Obama ever bypasses Congress and uses his pardon power to make millions of illegal aliens citizens, he could face serious calls for his impeachment.”

“If President Obama were to sign an executive order giving illegal aliens amnesty, his career would be over and an impeachment movement would explode,” O’Reilly said Friday night on his “Talking Points” segment during his top-rated Fox show.”

Richard

June 26th, 2010
3:19 pm

Anyone can write a few sentences with exactally the same facts, and by word choice create entirely different perceptions. Try it.

jconservative

June 26th, 2010
3:19 pm

A lot of this discussion on McChrystal and what he believed about Hastings is beside the point. McChrystal knows that he cannot use “contemptuous words” in referring the the Pres., VP, Sec of thisandthat & others because that would be a violation of his code of conduct and punishable by Court Martial. He knows that. He knew that when he did it. The question is why did he do it?

When I was in the Army I knew what I could say and who I could say it to. If I knew, he surely knew.

Jay

June 26th, 2010
3:21 pm

Scout, you are so wrong on that gun statistic issue. You make me chuckle every time you bring it up.

popeye

June 26th, 2010
3:21 pm

Scout the point should be evident….If you can’t figure it out then I can’t help!

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

June 26th, 2010
3:24 pm

My own rule is that anything said with either party holding an alcoholic beverage is off the record unless it is stated otherwise.

No wonder kookman never interviews any dummycrats, just sayin….

Southern Comfort

June 26th, 2010
3:24 pm

Where do I start on this thread. Lemme see…..

On thing I learned in my 37 years of service to this country …………….. never, ever, EVER trust the liberal Press to be fair, accurate or professional.

“Liberal” and those three words just don’t match ……….. right Dan Rather?

The same could be said about conservative Press too. It’s called bias. Liberal media will have liberal bias. Conservative media will have conservative bias. That’s human nature. Ring the alarm bell when Liberal media pushes a conservative agenda or vice versa.

From my understanding Weigel and Hastings are both covered under freedom of the press. If you’re being interviewed or followed for a story, one should assume that everything is on the record unless there’s consent otherwise. No journalist is going to follow you around just to listen and not write a story. That’s not their job.

If McChrystal did not want the views he or his men shared known, there should have been an understood agreement that they were off the record while in Paris. Weigel should have known that writing something to other journalists might get him into hot water.

Southern Comfort

June 26th, 2010
3:29 pm

Headline: “Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly is warning that if President Barack Obama ever bypasses Congress and uses his pardon power to make millions of illegal aliens citizens, he could face serious calls for his impeachment.”

Yet, nary a peep when previous Presidents have pardoned actual criminals. Things that make you say hmmmmm….

Southern Comfort

June 26th, 2010
3:40 pm

Scout

I saw your response last night about RW’s idea of what Border Patrol did. I’m sure you were joking, but if not, I’d like to see you sell that job description to the family of Agent Robert Rosas and the many others who have given their lives in defense of our borders.

Details: On Thursday, July 23, 2009, Border Patrol Agent Robert Rosas, of the Campo, California Border Patrol Station was murdered while performing his duties.

Agent Rosas was responding to suspicious activity in an area notorious for alien and drug smuggling when he was shot and killed by unidentified assailants. The murder occurred in a remote border area near Campo, California.

http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/border_security/border_patrol/border_patrol_officer_memorial/

Scroll thru that list that I’ve linked to. There are not as many names that are on the Vietnam Memorial’s Wall, but their lives are no less important to this country.

Richard

June 26th, 2010
3:41 pm

Aren’t illegal aliens actual criminals? What part of “illegal” do you not understand?

Southern Comfort

June 26th, 2010
3:45 pm

Richard

Which part of “previous Presidents” do you not understand? Illegal aliens are criminals, but not actual criminals until convicted in a court of law? Correct?

Kamchak

June 26th, 2010
3:48 pm

USA!

USA!

USA!

LaShondra

June 26th, 2010
3:58 pm

Weigel’s case must be a little scary for a lot of reporters who have thought they could be air their biases as much as they wanted to with “their people”. It’s such arrogance to believe that “we” know better and are smarter than the people we are assigned to cover.
What is it with the liberal preoccupation with wishing suicide on their opponents anyway?