Saheli*: Musings and Observations
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
 
Sy Hersh vs. Seymour Hersh

This New York Metro article by Slate's Chris Suellentrop criticizes the looseness with which Sy Hersh speaks in public, and the strong contrast between his speeches and his carefully factchecked and precise New Yorker articles (which Suellentrop labels as the work of Seymour Hersh.) (Link courtesy of Cyrus Farivar)

This is particularly interesting to me. I've bandied a story about for almost a year now. About a year ago I had the honor of having my head bitten off by Mr. Hersh when I was in Journalism school and we were on field trip to Washington. I've told this story mostly because it was kind of funny and about the coolest name-dropping thing that happened to me while I was at Columbia. I was famous in my class for asking questions, and I didn't get to ask one of the famous Seymour Hersh. I didn't think it was particularly significant of anything, except that he seemed like a cranky man. I was seated about one chair away from him, and I enthusiastically had my laptop out, ready to make my own personal record of what he said. This portion of the trip had been arranged by the other professor, and somehow I had missed the information that our session with Mr. Hersh was so "off the record" as to preclude laptops. For some reason my taking notes on a laptop bothered him a lot more than all my classmates taking notes in their reporters' notebooks, and when I asked a question he instead witheringly told me to put the laptop away. I was so mortified that I don't think I took very good regular notes after that, so I can't really say what he talked about even if it wasn't "off the record."

Of course I could have blogged him. There was no mechanism in place to stop me from blogging him. Telling me to put my laptop away didn't do anything but fluster me. If it had been my sister, and not me, in Journalism school, he'd have been as endangered by her accurately speedy calligraphy fountain pen as by my electronic typing. I'm not sure if Columbia would have done anything to punish me if I had blogged him, despite the "deal" they had brokered with him, or if they even could punish me. I do know that when they brokered a similar deal with Henry Kissinger I took notes on my laptop while sitting in my usual front row seat, and even though Dick Ward and David Westin (who brokered the deal) saw me doing it, they didn't stop me. I didn't blog anything then either, because as much as I despise Kissinger a deal is a deal--and he didn't seem to say anything that new and interesting. But not everyone thinks the way I do about these things. I don't really think Hersh said anything that deserved such secrecy, and like I said back then, a lot of the "off the record" stuff struck me as pure green-gilled-student-intimidation tactics. That he is, apparently, so loose-lipped in far more formal and clearly taped gatherings only strengthens that impression.

So if Hersh thought he was taking a precaution against the kind of blog-attack that Suellentrop is warning he (Hersh) is now subject to, well, he wasn't taking a very good one. But I don't think that was it. Suellentrop says Hersh's first account with streaming video was last July, a few months after he growled at me. Maybe he wasn't thinking much about blogs yet in April. He was probably just being cranky. The fact is, I have a lot of respect for Seymour Hersh. But I have a lot more respect for the New Yorker and its fact checking apparatus. I always take the written word a little more seriously than the spoken. This doesn't change my opinion on the substantial items he's writing about. It is still a bit disappointing to read that Hersh relies on the distinction as a crutch.
 


<< Home
Saheli Datta started this when she was a journalism student at Columbia in New York. Now she lives in the Bay Area. *Old people call me R. New people, call me Saheli. Thanks! My homepage. Specifically, my links. Email me: Saheli [AT] Gmail [dot] Com

ATOM FEED



Spring 2006: Guest Bloggers!
Colin!
Rishi | Scott | Emily
Echan | Robert | ToastyKen

MAIN:ssrdatta.blogspot.com
Email me!
Ways to help the Tsunami Victims Here

Want this badge?

ARCHIVES
01/01/2003 - 02/01/2003 / 09/01/2003 - 10/01/2003 / 10/01/2003 - 11/01/2003 / 11/01/2003 - 12/01/2003 / 12/01/2003 - 01/01/2004 / 01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004 / 02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004 / 03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004 / 04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004 / 05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004 / 06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004 / 07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004 / 08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004 / 09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004 / 10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004 / 11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004 / 12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005 / 01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005 / 02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005 / 03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005 / 04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005 / 05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005 / 06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005 / 07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005 / 08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005 / 09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005 / 10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005 / 11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005 / 12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006 / 01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006 / 02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006 / 03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006 / 04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006 / 05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006 / 06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006 / 07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006 / 08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006 / 09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006 / 10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006 / 05/01/2010 - 06/01/2010 / 09/01/2014 - 10/01/2014 /


Blogs I Read (Or Try To)
113th Street
american footprints(Nadezhda & Praktike)
ANNA's Diary
Apartment Therapy
Armchair Generalist
Back To Iraq 3.0 (Chris Albritton)
Dave Barry
The Bellman
Mine's On The 45 (Brimful)
Campaign Desk (CJR)
ChennaiCentral
ClimateBoy
Combing the Sphere
Crooked Timber
Daily Dose of Imagery
The Daily Rhino (Bong Breaker)
Dark Days Ahead
The Decembrist
Brad DeLong
Atanu Dey on India's Development (Deeshaa)
Daniel Drezner
Ennis
Ephemera
Cyrus Farivar
Finding My Voice
Forsv
Neil Gaiman
Ganesh Blog
Geeky Chic 2.0 (Echan)
Geomblog
Green Ink!
Heliolith
Alexandra Huddleston
Iddybud (Jude Nagurney Camwell)
Indeterminacy
India Uncut
InSpiteOfEverything
Intel Dump: Phillip Carter et al
The Intersection (Chris Mooney)
Jesus Politics
John and Belle Have a Blog
Mark A. R. Kleiman
KnowProse (Taran Rampersad)
1Locana
Maenad (Nori Heikkinen)
Scott McCloud
Mind Without Borders
Electrolite: Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden
Corey Pein
Political Animal(Kevin Drum, formerly Calpundit)
Kevin G. Powell
QuakeHelp (South Asian Quake)
Radiation Persuasion (Nick)
Reneebop
Rhinocrisy
Scott Rosenberg(Salon.com)
Rox Populi
Felix(&Rhian)Salmon
samVaad
Nick Schager
Idea Spout: Daniel Sanchez
Sepia Mutiny
Amardeep Singh
Snarkmarket (Robin Sloan & Matt Thompson)
South-East Asian Earthquake and Tsunami Blog
SreeTips: New To Sree
Steprous (Bear)
Robert Stribley
Subjunctive.net:klog
Talking Points Memo: Joshua Micah Marshall
Tech Policy
TiffinBox
A Tiny Revolution
To The Teeth
TreeHugger
Unfogged
VatulBlog
Venk@
Manish Vij
Vinod's Blog
War and Piece
Nollind Whachell
Wonkette
WorldChanging
Matthew Yglesias:Old
Yglesias:Tpmcafe
Zoo Station:Reuben Abraham
Ethan Zuckerman
Zwichenzug



Some Categories

Blogs focusing on policy, politics, and national security:
Armchair Generalist
Back To Iraq 3.0 (Chris Albritton)
The Decembrist
Brad DeLong
Daniel Drezner
Eschaton(Atrios)
Green Ink!
Iddybud (Jude Nagurney Camwell)
Idea Spout: Daniel Sanchez
Informed Comment: Juan Cole
Intel Dump: Phillip Carter
The Intersection (Chris Mooney)
Irregular Analyses
Jesus Politics
Mark A. R. Kleiman
Liberals Against Terrorism(Nadezhda & Praktike)
Political Animal(Kevin Drum, formerly Calpundit)
Talking Points Memo: Joshua Micah Marshall
War and Piece
Wonkette
Yglesias:Tpmcafe

Photo Blogs
Daily Dose of Imagery
Ephemera
Alexandra Huddleston
Radiation Persuasion (Nick)
TiffinBox

Columbia Journalism Folks
Apartment Therapy
Back To Iraq 3.0 (Chris Albritton)
Campaign Desk (CJR)
Ranajit Dam
Cyrus Farivar
Alexandra Huddleston
InSpiteOfEverything
Corey Pein
Nick Schager
Zoo Station:Reuben Abraham

Literature, Fiction and Entertainment
Dave Barry
Neil Gaiman
Electrolite: Patrick Nielsen Hayden
Scott McCloud


A Note on Comments
Haloscan is not very good at counting comments. If a comment thread is more than three months old, and you think there might be comments, please click the comments link even if it indicates zero comments. It won't display the true count properly. Thanks!


A note on permalinks
I find that a lot of people don't know about permalinks. When you want to have someone read a specific blog entry, then you should find that blog entry's permalink, click on that, and send them the resulting browser address. Otherwise they will just be sent to the blog in general, and between your reading the blog entry and your correspondent's or audience's getting to it, a whole slew of material may have pushed the entry off the front page. In this blog, the permalinks are the timestamp at the end of the entry. (Feel free to frequently send your friends and family permalinks from my blog!)







Weblog Commenting and Trackback by 
HaloScan.com Powered by Blogger