Pulitzer Prize winner says the press
should "fire 90% of editors"
Seymour Hersh has got some extreme ideas on how to fix journalism – close down the news bureaus of NBC and ABC, sack 90% of editors in publishing and get back to the fundamental job of journalists which, he says, is to be an outsider.
Hersh, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, says that the official account of the raid which killed Osama Bin Laden in 2011 is ‘one big lie’.
Seymour Hersh, 76, said that ‘not one word’ of the Obama administration’s narrative on what happened is true.
In an interview with by The Guardian, Hersh savages the US media for failing to challenge the White House on a whole host of issues, from NSA spying, to drone attacks, to aggression against Syria.
He said the Navy Seal raid that supposedly resulted in the death of the Al-Qaeda terror leader, Hersh said, ‘not one word of it is true’.
According to Hersh – who first gained worldwide recognition in 1969 for exposing the My Lai Massacre and its cover-up during the Vietnam War, for which he received the 1970 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting – the problem is that the US media is allowing the Obama administration to get away with lying.
‘It’s pathetic. They are more than obsequious, they are afraid to pick on this guy [Obama].’
The White House has refused to publicly release images of Bin Laden’s body, fuelling suspicion they are withholding information.
Don't even get him started on the New York Times which, he says, spends "so much more time carrying water for Obama than I ever thought they would" – or the death of Osama bin Laden. "Nothing's been done about that story, it's one big lie, not one word of it is true," he says of the dramatic US Navy Seals raid in 2011.
Hersh is writing a book about national security and has devoted a chapter to the bin Laden killing. He says a recent report put out by an "independent" Pakistani commission about life in the Abottabad compound in which Bin Laden was holed up would not stand up to scrutiny.
"The Pakistanis put out a report, don't get me going on it. Let's put it this way, it was done with considerable American input. It's a bullshit report," he says hinting of revelations to come in his book.
The Obama administration lies systematically, he claims, yet none of the leviathans of American media, the TV networks or big print titles, challenge him.
"I'll tell you the solution, get rid of 90% of the editors that now exist and start promoting editors that you can't control," he says. I saw it in the New York Times, I see people who get promoted are the ones on the desk who are more amenable to the publisher and what the senior editors want and the trouble makers don't get promoted. Start promoting better people who look you in the eye and say 'I don't care what you say'.
Nor does he understand why the Washington Post held back on the Snowden files until it learned the Guardian was about to publish.
If Hersh was in charge of US Media Inc, his scorched earth policy wouldn't stop with newspapers.
"I would close down the news bureaus of the networks and let's start all over, tabula rasa. The majors, NBCs, ABCs, they won't like this – just do something different, do something that gets people mad at you, that's what we're supposed to be doing," he says.
Hersh is currently on a break from reporting, working on a book which undoubtedly will make for uncomfortable reading for both Bush and Obama.
"The republic's in trouble, we lie about everything, lying has become the staple." And he implores journalists to do something about it.