A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Friday, June 25, 2010

"Beers on the Table" and the Hastings-McChrystal Flap

Andrew Exum offers a roundup of opinion and his own take on the Michael Hastings/General McChrystal issue in "Beers on the Table: Journalists and the Public Figures they Cover." Be sure to read the comments thread.

My own two cents: Twenty years or more ago I spent time as a journalist covering the military. Ground rules are important, but no one is suggesting Hastings violated any explicit ground rules. Did the McChrystal folks think that sitting around having a few after hours rendered the conversation off the record? You'd be surprised how easy it is to preface even a somewhat well-lubricated conversation with "Don't use this, but . . ." or "You didn't hear this from me." Rolling Stone is not Army Times; you may not assume any ground rules you don't spell out beforehand. If anybody feels betrayed by all this, it's worrisome for what it says about their security sense.

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