Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Puff Piece

Bruce Jackson writes about 60 Minutes piece on the Afghanistan general:
David Martin’s 13-minute “60 Minutes” interview with General Stanley
McChrystal (September 27), the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, may have
seemed like one more of those insufferable Sunday evening puff pieces, like
Steve Kroft’s strokejob with Clarence Thomas in September 2007 and Morley
Safer’s with Bobby Jindahl in March 2009. As in the Kroft and Safer interviews,
Martin never asked a question that went faster than slowball and he spent the
whole time playing hagiographer and straight-man. He never asked one significant
follow-up question. If he’d been a flack for DoD editing this piece in the
Pentagon studio he couldn’t have done a better job.

But the interview was more than just another “60 Minutes” puff piece.
Four-star battlefront generals don’t put on dog-and-pony shows for reporters
without a very good reason for doing so, and he put on a very fancy show for
Martin, with stops at his room, his office, his briefing room, trips in his
helicopter and SUV, and much more. It’s difficult to imagine that McChrystal’s
reason was anything other than putting pressure on the Obama administration to
give him the series of very large troop increases he thinks he needs to win his

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