Jonathan at A Tiny Revolution catches a perfect illustration of Village mores:
From a recent profile of Seymour Hersh:
It was Tina Brown, formerly of Tatler and Vanity Fair, who brought [Hersh] to the New Yorker. 'What's-her-name... yeah, Tina. She gave me a lot of money, and she said: "Just go do it!" But she used to worry. She'd call me up and say, "I sat next to Colin Powell at dinner last night and he was railing about how awful you are." So I would say, "Well, that's good." And she'd say, "Is it?" And I'd tell her, "Yes, it is."'
Tina Brown was the editor of the New Yorker from 92 through 98, so it's not like Powell was just being a good soldier for the Bush administration. Indeed, he was probably upset at Hersh's My Lai expose and his indictment of the military over Gulf War Syndrome.
Hersh is an old guy with a long established reputation, so he has nothing to fear from villagers like Powell. Any other journalist might have seen what Tina was saying as a warning. And, indeed, it would have been. Tina and Sy weren't peers. Tina and Colin were.