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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Thursday, May 12, 2005

When Seymour Hersh speaks...

We should listen. The finest journalist of his generation - he and Robert Fisk would make a formidable team - talks about the American media, Abu Ghraib, Iraq and the future of the Arab world.


"You have to understand it's not that hard inside the government to tell a lie. So, this is an administration that has brought that art, the art of lying not only to the world, not only to foreign reporters, but lying to the American press, systematic misrepresenting and lying, they brought it to a new art form."

"There is good reporting. It's not just me. The Washington Post has done good stuff. Knight-Ridder newspapers has done good stuff, Amy Goodman’s show, Naomi Klein have done a lot of brilliant stuff about the war. It’s not as if there's any monopoly on critical reporting about the war. Even in The New York Times had a marvellous story a month ago about a group of Marines that came back disillusioned with the lack of equipment, the stupidity of their mission. It was an amazing story. It went down, it just went down. No stories seem to have bounce anymore, in part because, I guess, because of the networks and their cowardness, which is, you know, duh. You know, I'm tired of worrying about the networks. They just are what they are."

"I have a friend who is a major player who went to Iraq recently. There's been a series, unreported, a series of missions in Iraq that have all been there to study the war -- where are we? -- and they’ve all come back pretty negatively. This guy came back and he saw the President months ago. And he said, “Mr. President, we're losing the war in Iraq.” And there was a sort of a three-second beat and Bush said, “You mean we're not winning.” And this guy said, “Hey, I told him what I had to say. If he wants to turn it the way he wants to, that's the way it goes.” You know, so he hears what he hears."

"And what happened is after the election of January 30, the elections so widely hailed by this President and the government, which as we now know has had very little consequence on the reality of what's going on the ground, as we move towards an open civil war there, but after the election, there were orders put out to change the reporting requirements on incidents. In other words, you had to have a serious American fatality or casualty, not necessarily death, but a serious incident, to get reported. So just a mine going off and somebody being lightly wounded wouldn't get reported. So the numbers went down right away, suggesting that somehow the election had worked."

Hersh explains why Iraq has "gone El Salvador", as the US supports and funds paramilitary groups to kill alleged "terrorists".

Read the whole interview - the most insightful piece I've read on Iraq for months. And Australia is following this madness all the way.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a bit rich for someone like Sy Hersh to talk about other people lying so much.

Pot, meet kettle. Kettle, pot.

Thursday, May 12, 2005 9:18:00 pm  
Blogger syed-m said...

It amazes me that Hersh is still going strong despite several decades of fighting endless, often soul crushing battles to keep power powerful people accountable. That he hasn't been marginalised in the way that most dissenting investigative journalists have is remarkable.

Thursday, May 12, 2005 9:19:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Indeed. No other journalist in the last 30 years has broken more profound stories. Look what happened to Bob Woodward post Watergate. Essentially, a govt patsy, writing the 'inside' story every few years.
When Hersh goes, who'll replace him? Let's get a list together....

Thursday, May 12, 2005 9:24:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but it is the height of hypocrisy for you to bang on about the 'lies' of the Murdoch press and then profess admiration for an admitted liar like Hersh!

Friday, May 13, 2005 12:38:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Liar like Hersh?
OK, I know in your mind no journalist who doesn't slavish follow government spin is a liar, but really, Hersh's reputation is rock solid, and generations of scoops prove that.

Friday, May 13, 2005 3:47:00 pm  

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