THE BLOG
06/24/2010 02:54 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Media and General McChrystal

One of the strangest things about the coverage of the Stanley McChrystal embarrassment has been the cluelessness of the media. The story has been framed as simply a mistake on the part of General McChrystal -- because of course one should never be overheard saying exactly what one thinks.

But none of the media outlets take this as a criticism of their war coverage. They have been so embedded -- either with troops on the ground or hanging around with the officers -- that they have forgotten their obligation to uncover and bring out what is really happening in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in the American war theaters.

It took Michael Hastings, a plucky, independent Rolling Stone reporter, to bring the story out. Hastings had the courage and honesty to report the cowboy culture, the contempt for diplomatic processes, the bloodthirstiness that swirls around the old boy's club at the top. And the reports have not even detailed other horrendous things they said, like this:

"Who's he going to dinner with?" I ask one of his aides.
"Some French minister," the aide tells me. "It's fucking gay."

That's right. Contempt for the supposed allies. Overt homophobia. On and on. It's all there.

The problem was not that this (the truth) was found out. The problem was that this is the culture, these are the guys in place. No surprise. But where is the challenge to this culture? Where is the self-criticism from the media which have been tamed and domesticated lo these many years?

All the prestigious, well-funded, powerful news outlet missed this. The little hippy magazine did it. Good for them. They should get the Pulitzer. The others should get a clue.

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