The White House's blanket denial saves time and energy, but it fails to address Hersh's mendacity charge. I understand why the White House would not wish to respond to every negative criticism leveled in its direction, but this is different.
The account of unsavory chicanery in high places once again spotlights the deceit that now is the hallmark of how our government works. Here are a few crucial points essential to assessment of Seymour Hersh's interpretation.
Bradlee sounded a bit nostalgic for the days when the Post and the Times dueled and the institution of journalism lived off scoops and leaks. "They changed the kind reporting we do. They institutionalized what we do today. They made it the norm."
I always thought, perhaps naively, that the Times was not going after just the wealthy, that they might have a commitment to people at the lower end of the wealth scale. Then I encountered the February 11 edition.
It may be a New Year, but it is the same old Sy Hersh, arguably America's best investigative reporter, who is still sticking his thumb in the eye of power at the age of 76 and exposing what he sees as the abuse of power.
The attempt to tackle the sexual legacy of John Kennedy was an unmitigated disaster for Sy Hersh, the low point of an otherwise illustrious career. Why would Hersh, the man obsessed with public policy, tackle this sordid tale in the way that he did?
A possible threat to national security is perhaps more understandable, but getting a prior restraint on a book for national security is near impossible; getting a book banned because people cuss or if the content is "ungodly" (look out Harry Potter books!) is a lot easier.
Reporters like Hersh and Greenwald, coupled with leakers like Snowden, principled or not, may bring some pain, but they cleanse the democracy, or at least open it up to light. Sunshine, still, is the best disinfectant, even as it opens some wounds along the way.