Journalists Debate on Reporting Ethics

Lara LoganCBS News Chief Foreign Correspondent Lara LoganThe fallout from Michael Hastings' inflammatory article in Rolling Stone about General Stanley McChrystal continues as journalists debate the appropriateness of Hastings' reporting. Hastings' article gave a frank albeit dismal assessment of the U.S.'s deteriorating prospects in Afghanistan, and contained candid disclosures by McChrystal and members of his inner circle that led to the end of McChrystal's military career. In a CNN interview, CBS News Chief Foreign Correspondent Lara Logan slammed Hastings, saying that there is an "unspoken agreement that you're not going to embarrass [the troops] by reporting insults and banter." Hastings says beat reporters like Logan, who report continuously on the military, publish little negative information about their subjects because it will end their access. In response to Logan's interview, Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi defended Hastings, explaining that this is a battle between journalists who act as handmaidens for the Pentagon and the White House, and reporters who deliver truth to the public. Taibbi, citing the Pentagon's huge $4.7 billion PR budget, says that "most of the major TV outlets are completely in the bag for the Pentagon." A reporter's job is not to be a cheerleader for his or her journalistic subjects, Taibbi says, but to get at the truth for the people of the U.S. who don't have the resources to find out the truth for themselves. The questions reporters need to be asking on behalf of the American people, he says, are " What the hell are we doing in Afghanistan? Is it worth all the bloodshed and the hatred? Who are the people running this thing, what is their agenda, and is that agenda the same thing we voted for?"


Is it me or is Matt Taibbi's response to Logan's interview a little bit sexist?

Using such terms as 'handmaidens' & 'cheerleader'. I guess that's why she feels the need to stand in front of a powerful machine such as a helicopter for her PR image.

Yes it is just you.
Those are terms that have been generally applied to the MSM.
Stenographer is another term. Not sexist at all. Ms. Logan has demonstrated that she has no idea what her job is as a member of the Fourth Estate with constitutional protection.

...that your memory might tend to emphasize female cheerleaders you've seen. But there have always been male ones ...

...and the word "cheerleader" itself is gender-neutral, like "letter carrier" or "flight attendant."

As an American I believe we, as a people, need to use our power in a democracy and VOTE, mainly for people who don not want to take from the federal treasury. We all want peace but peace does not necessarily mean take a piece out of the treasury. What is America coming to now?

Reporting ethics are almost non-existent these days. Despite the odd few that are willing to throw a good story if the subject is unhappy about being written about, most reporters would publish that story to hurt others and benefit themselves. Do you guys think reporters have ethics?