Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Inspiration: The Operators, pen vs. swords (and Nunchucks)


Finally got around to reading the brilliant The Operators by ex-freelance, now BuzzFeed journalist Michael Hastings showing that from time to time the pen is mightier than the sword as a Rolling Stone article was able to topple a general, at least from his war perch.



There is a brilliant chapter on the media-military-government complex, and how so many journalists cozy up to their sources, protect them from who they really are, embed and so forth. Complexities of the off the record mirage are also exposed in the book.

A must-read for journalists, especially those covering beats involving powerful people.

Here's Hastings on Hardball with Chris Matthews.



I tried to find recent information on the PR guy who allowed for this volcano ash-helped access to happen. Hastings was stuck in Europe along with General Stanley McChrystal and his team when the hard to pronounce Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupted in Iceland in April 2010 stopping air travel in Europe for a week, leading to a drunken Paris night on the record for the journalist who played coy and the renegade in command military team he was covering. The PR guy who kept pushing for more access Duncan Boothby seems to have vanished from recent Internet commentary and his traces are hard to find.

A few years ago, the Donna Dupuy blog came up with these interesting questions:

A completely unscientific survey of a very small sample of PR colleagues produced some theories, to wit: Boothby thought Rolling Stone might be a good place to recruit new soldiers. Boothby is a Brutus who turned on his boss to further someone else’s career. Boothby is an Iago who was trying to discredit President Obama and/or his team. Boothby had a close personal relationship with the Rolling Stone correspondent. Note that none of these theories suggest that Duncan Boothby is a doofus. Hopefully, we’ll hear from Duncan Boothby at some point, and get the answer to that infernal, nagging question: What was he thinking?


Interesting as well how many other journalists and PR people seemed mad at Hastings for bursting some type of sacred bubble. Shame on them.

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