Hersh on Journalism and the Internet
Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh is interviewed in The Guardian. He has some canny comments on journalism and blogging. Hersh is a giant in investigative journalism who broke both My Lai and Abu Ghraib, and without him the Republic would be in even worse shape.
He makes the key point that it used to be a New Yorker story might die if the New York Times did not pick it up, but now it can circulate widely via the internet and the bloggers. Excerpts:
The net does one thing great for people like me: it used to be that if I wrote a good hard story for the New Yorker magazine and the New York Times didn’t pick it up then we all felt bad. Now the internet is so vibrant that everything’s on it on blogs, logs or websites. The blogs are still very undisciplined though and they can be very vicious . . .
Has the net made it harder to cover up stories such as Abu Ghraib?
The Bush administration is amazingly competent at doing it. In England, with all the leaks that get out, they’re running into big problems, but in America the administration is brutal in dealing with dissent. The big impact of the net is that there’s an astonishing amount of information to be accessed by people who know their way. For me, the net is all about information flow, and in the long run it’s going to mean better information.
As someone who has read and admired him all my life, it meant a lot to me that Hersh listed Informed Comment among his “Internet Favorites.”