In this video (via Greg Hengler), “Polk Award-winning journalist” Michael Hastings just says aloud what everybody already knows, but, for that very reason, it’s refreshing. In case you’re unfamiliar, Hastings covered the war in Afghanistan for Rolling Stone and wrote an article in June 2010 that led to the firing of General Stanley McChrystal. Since then, he’s won the “prestigious” Polk Award and authored a book that expands upon the article that led to the firing of the general.
His candor here is to his credit. As I’ve written repeatedly, objectivity — except as a relentless method of verification — doesn’t exist. Every person has preconceptions and a perspective. Better to just own the bias. Even traditional journalistic dictums like the one Hastings mentions here — that a journalist’s job is to “afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted” — reflect a certain fixed preemptive tendency toward magnifying the flaws of the powerful and minimizing the flaws of the weak. In fact, the journalist’s job is not to afflict the powerful or empower the afflicted. The journalist’s job is to tell the truth — starting with the truth about himself. Kudos to Hastings for doing that at least to some degree.