January 28, 2005


Digging Into Seymour Hersh: You don't have to scratch too deeply to find an enormous reservoir of left-wing bias. (Max Boot, January 27, 2005, LA Times)

It has become a cliche to call Bob Woodward and Seymour Hersh the greatest investigative reporters of their generation — Woodward the consummate insider, Hersh the ultimate outsider. In truth the differences outweigh the similarities.

Though he achieved fame by bringing down a Republican administration, Woodward is no ideologue. His only bias, as far as I can tell, is in favor of his sources. Within those parameters he produces invaluable, if incomplete, accounts of government deliberations.

Hersh, on the other hand, is the journalistic equivalent of Oliver Stone: a hard-left zealot who subscribes to the old counterculture conceit that a deep, dark conspiracy is running the U.S. government. In the 1960s the boogeyman was the "military- industrial complex." Now it's the "neoconservatives." "They overran the bureaucracy, they overran the Congress, they overran the press, and they overran the military!" Hersh ranted at UC Berkeley on Oct. 8, 2004.

Hersh doesn't make any bones about his bias. "Bush scares the hell out of me," he said. He told a group in Washington, "I'm a better American than 99% of the guys in the White House," who are "nuts" and "ideologues." In another speech he called Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft "demented." Hersh has also compared what happened at Abu Ghraib with Nazi Germany. (Were American MPs gassing inmates?) He has claimed that since 2001 a "secret unit" of the U.S. government "has been disappearing people just like the Brazilians and Argentinians did." And in his lectures he has spread the legend of how a U.S. Army platoon was supposedly ordered to execute 30 Iraqis guarding a granary.

Hersh hasn't printed the execution story, which suggests it may not meet even his relaxed reportorial standards, but what he does run is a confusing farrago of fact and fiction.

In fairness to Mr. Hersh, Bob Woodward is one of the central figures in the conservative revival.

We've Been Taken Over By a Cult: Editors' Note: This is a transcript of remarks by Seymour Hersh at the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in New York. (Seymour Hersh, CounterPunch)

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 28, 2005 9:00 AM

Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, better known as 'Jews for Returning to Auschwitz'

Posted by: Bart at January 28, 2005 2:48 PM