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Slate says that interview subjects should not sit for features

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Dick Whitman, Jun 27, 2010.

  1. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Or something like that. Or at least so long as they don't have anything to gain (like promoting a movie or win an election):


    I guess the cynical part of me - and I like the site for the most part - is thinking, "This is really easy to say when you work for a publication that does very little original reporting and is almost exclusively commentary piggybacking on the reporting of others."
  2. CR19

    CR19 Member

    This could just be my interpretation of the facts, but didn't the reporter overhear these comments as McChrystal talked to other officials, not through a sit-down interview?
  3. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Thanks for clarifying. I think the Slate article is talking about access, not necessarily an interview, although I think that the idea of access would include an interview (possibly, but not necessarily - all I can think about is little William Miller trying and trying to get Russell Hammond to sit for the interview).
  4. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Appropos of nothing - just found out Michael Hastings is only 30 years old. Wow. I can't even imagine the career this guy has ahead of him. Nice to see a success story in the upcoming generation of journalists (along with the young guy who won the Pulitzer at the small paper).
  5. CR19

    CR19 Member

    No problem. I just have a question that I'm curious about, and you probably have a better idea than I do. McChrystal allowed this guy to be around him, right? I don't believe that is was an investigative/secret report.

    If McChrystal gave him permission, than he's a complete idiot. Even when you know a reporter has a microphone somewhere near you, you still act as if you're talking only with close friends? Nowadays, no material is safe. If McChrystal didn't give him permission, though, the question of guilt returns to the reporter.

    But like I said, I believe McChrystal still gave him permission. A nice pickup by Hastings, who likely influenced the history of the U.S. Not bad for a 30-year-old.
  6. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    It is my understanding that it was fly-on-the-wall/immersion journalism, in which the reporter just kind of blended into the scenery - a la Michael Lewis with the A's in "Moneyball," or David Simon's "Homicide," or "Generation Kill" by Evan Wright. I guess it's just tough to keep up a facade for that long. To circle back to "Almost Famous," that was kind of the journalistic moral of that story - the reporter was following this band around, trying to get this interview to make his piece, and he finally realized that the story had been happening in front of him all along.

    Politics completely aside, it's nice to be reminded that journalists can still change the world when talent and resources come together.
  7. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

  8. CR19

    CR19 Member

    What Geraldo Rivera has failed to see, as in most cases involving this idiot, is that journalism isn't dedicated to a single country or political agenda. It is aimed toward the public good, whether supportive or unhelpful to the government. The only thing that he can argue is that the lives of soldiers are at risk, which I don't believe are jeopardized with this story.

    Let's try this scenario. Can Rivera, while looking at me square in the eyes, tell me that Watergate shouldn't have been uncovered? Was Watergate something that the public didn't need to know about? Can he tell me that Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein were traitors by their work? No, no, and another no.

    Hastings isn't a member of the United States government. He is a journalist, devoted to uncovering scandals that the public deserves to know about. I think that a general speaking poorly of the President of the United States fits into that category. Of course, I wouldn't necessarily view Rivera as an objective journalist in the first place, however.
  9. HanSenSE

    HanSenSE Well-Known Member

  10. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Reading the story, it's not really a hatchet job whatsoever. Just unvarnished. This reminds me a little of the Charles Pierce-Tiger Woods controversy, i.e. another time where the complaint wasn't that anything was inaccurate, but the implication was that the reporter had some kind of duty to make the source look good in exchange for the access. And the public buys that, particularly with people like Geraldo - and many, many others - carrying McChrystal's water for him on that angle. It's ridiculous that the bigger story becomes the reporter and not the story itself. Is the public that easily misdirected?
  11. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    He took a few too many chairs in the nose in the 80s.

    See the Dimwit on the Phone thread. I think it's been proven that the general public is a bunch of idiots.
  12. crusoes

    crusoes Active Member

    Two words: American Idol.
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