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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

 
The Secret Order Of The Pen

by digby

CJR reports:
Yesterday in one of Politico’s write-ups of the furor that ensued as it became known that damaging quotes from General Stanley McChrystal and his staff would appear in an article by Michael Hastings in Rolling Stone, the following paragraphs appeared:
McChrystal, an expert on counterterrorism and counterinsurgency, has long been thought to be uniquely qualified to lead in Afghanistan. But he is not known for being media savvy. Hastings, who has covered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for two years, according to the magazine, is not well-known within the Defense Department.

And as a freelance reporter, Hastings would be considered a bigger risk to be given unfettered access, compared with a beat reporter, who would not risk burning bridges by publishing many of McChrystal’s remarks.

And in the version of that article live on the site today, what’s happened to the material on Hastings’s favorable position to report damaging remarks: poof!

Gosh, I wonder why they did that? (They aren't saying, according to CJR.)

I'm guessing that the Grand Lodge of the Village Order of the Pen was aghast at that unfortunate indiscretion. One simply doesn't share such rituals, signs and passwords with the uninitiated. They wouldn't understand how important it is for journalists to have unfettered access to information they would never reveal lest they lose that access. It's a secret they are pledged to take to their graves.

As we've already explored in great depth over the years, the purpose of journalism is not to tell the truth or even straightforwardly give people the information they need to reach their own conclusions. It's to maintain the established order and obscure rather than reveal what's really going on. If there's one thing that really upsets the whole arrangement, it's someone outside the order attempting to do the job differently. Why if that were to become common, the whole atmosphere of trust within the Village might disappear, and then where would we be?

They certainly wouldn't be welcome at important private events they can't report on like this, that's for sure.


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