Inside The Cover of the Rolling Stone

Posted: July 7, 2010 in Afghanistan, Esquire, Fallon, McChrystal, Media, Public Affairs, Rolling Stone
Tags: ,

We’re not just all about space and nuclear war here.

For example, there’s an interest in the angst in Afghanistan, the confusion in Kabul, and the payback on the Potomac, cumulatively know as The Runaway General.

The Rolling Stone article is an unusual mixture of inside-the-locker-room love and resentment mixed in with periodic policy scrubs.

The article’s author, Michael Hastings, may never be able to eat lunch in the Pentagon cafeteria again.

The knee-jerk response once McChrystal was relieved–there was no way he would survive–was to clamp down on DoD interaction with the media.  That’s the wrong take for one main reason: the military and the media need each other.  Having to play mother-may-I with DoD’s media moat dragons will make things…not better.

There is simply no way the military can disengage with the media.  Yes, stories will get mangled from time to time (actually more often than that if experience is a guide) and soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines will sometimes be messed over, but that’s a cost of doing business in the public arena.

Too often we want perfect unity of message when we should just accept good enough.  McChrystal had the right idea of engaging the media but it appears he lost control of his defenses.  Where’s the four-star spidey-sense?

Certainly the Stockholm Syndrome was not observed with author Hastings. After all, writers have to sell their stories and a pro-military piece in something like Rolling Stone probably doesn’t reach the magazine’s core constituency.

The McChrystal episode is highly reminiscent of the Fallon piece in Esquire a couple of years ago.

  1. […] Rolling Stone showed it still had some juice, not to lift up, as per Dr. Hook, but rather to beat down as in the got-him-relieved-in-the-field […]

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