A giant of American journalism, Seymour Hersh, joins me this week on “Krystal Nation” on Canada Talks. Hersh won the Pulitzer Prize in 1970 for his expose on the My Lai massacre during the Vietnam War. He has also, barring teeth, exposed and chronicled subjects as diverse as civil rights battles, Watergate, CIA domestic spying, Abu Ghraib prison and the dark side of both John F. Kennedy and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. In one of his latest, “Killing Bin Laden”, Hersh details what really happened on that fateful night with the Navy Seal targeted strike and the many-faced Pakistani government who, it appears, had hidden Bin Laden for years.
An iconoclast — millennials prefer the phrase “disrupter”— I prefer the term “crap disturber”, Hersh has added much to our understanding of events and people: telling readers about both “the fish” and “the sea” — the specific personages and the general context and conditions of the subjects themselves.
Always providing background and analysis, combined with a deep exploration of the facts, Hersh is the epitome of investigative journalism and he underscores an alert that this could be a dying art in America — with both declining print revenues and the present failure of digital media to truly pick up the slack from analog newsrooms: there are simply fewer reporters doing Seymour Hersh’s old job.
His latest book is his autobiography, “Reporter”. In it, Hersh doesn’t let his prose get in the way of his own story. It seems to almost tell itself and has the easy, unselfconscious air of a guy telling you what happened as would a friendly stranger reflecting upon a captivating story from a bar stool. Only Hersh’s story is the stuff of bearing witness to American history: Seymour Hersh, the retired staff writer for the New Yorker and the New York Times, has written an autobiography that essentially is a clear-eyed biography of the nation itself.
Hear the show:
Thursday, August 16th at 7 pm ET
Saturday, August 18th at 10 am ET
Sunday, August 19th at 7 am, 11 am, and 6 pm ET