"Many of the sessions were off-the-record and intended to give [reporter Michael Hastings] a sense" of how McChrystal's team operated, according to a senior military official. The command's own review of events, the official said, gleaned "no evidence to suggest" that any of the "salacious political quotes" in the article were made during a series of on-the-record and background interviews Hastings conducted with McChrystal and others.
The official, one of many subject to a Pentagon advisory not to discuss the situation without authorization, spoke on condition of anonymity. He said he was motivated by what he described as untrue claims made by Rolling Stone.
Two others with direct knowledge of the command's dealings with Hastings offered similar accounts.
Friday, June 25, 2010
Just last week we had James Risen carrying the Defense Department's jock with a silly war-justifying story about Afghan mineral wealth in the NYT. Then today Karen DeYoung drops a thinly-sourced and badly-headlined expose on how "Rolling Stone broke interview ground-rules with McChrystal, military officials say."
Of course, "military officials" will only "say" that anonymously. You know, "on background." To a reporter. Who won't print their names because of, well, you know, "ethics." (And to preserve access. [Speaking of, click that link. Did you know that Politico editors removed a line from an online story published yesterday that suggested Hastings, as a freelancer, might have been willing to print things that a beat reporter would have held back in order to preserve access? The editors say they did it to keep the story "tight and readable."])
You see, if "military officials" really wanted to denounce this story, they'd issue a press release through official channels. If anyone had really broken any kind of binding rules, you'd be sure the Department would tell everyone about it. But instead, you have the Washington fuckin' Post -- theoretically one of the two media organs best positioned to challenge the government's baseless assertions -- reporting exactly what the Department wants them to.
That makes Old Media 2/2 in the last two weeks.
I'm sure this has nothing to do with the Post feeling burned that someone else is #1 in the media-on-media meta-commentary this week.