This a brief combat report from the battlefield here and abroad in the aftermath of the release last Wednesday of my story about Joe Biden’s decision to blow up the Nord Stream pipelines.
First, many thanks for your interest in what the pipeline story was all about: a very dangerous Presidential decision. You are careful readers.
I’m an old hand at dropping bombshell stories that are based on the disclosures of sources I do not, and cannot, name. There is a pattern to the response by the mainstream media. It dates back to my breakthrough story: the My Lai massacre revelation. That story was published in five installments, over five weeks in 1969, by the underground media group Dispatch News. I had tried to get the two most important magazines in America, Life and Look, to publish the story, with no success. Editors at both publications had earlier invited me to do some freelance writing for them, but they wanted nothing to do with a story about a massacre committed by American soldiers.
It was a frightening time for me, in terms of my faith in the profession I had chosen. I was allowed to read and copy by hand much of the Army’s original charge sheet accusing a sad sack 2nd Lieutenant named William L. Calley Jr. of the premeditated murder of 109 “Oriental” human beings. I also had tracked Calley, the Army’s only suspect, and interviewed him at a base in Georgia—he was tucked away—and gotten his assertion that he was merely doing what he was ordered to do. Given all this, I was more than a little rattled—make that terrified—by the failure of senior editors at prominent magazines to jump at a story that would get international attention, especially when those editors professed to deplore the war and want it to end.
Despite their obscure beginnings in the underground press, the articles I wrote eventually found their way to the mainstream media in America and around the world, as I kept on reporting. And over the years the government kept on trying to obstruct or—since they couldn’t stop me—denigrate what I was writing.
The most bizarre effort came from the Defense Department of Donald Rumsfeld. Two decades ago, Secretary Rumsfeld and Vice President Richard Cheney discarded the rule of law and common decency in their efforts to stomp out Muslim terrorism. I was writing for the New Yorker then, and the White House responded to an article I published about the CIA’s secret operations inside Iran by calling it another example of Hersh throwing “crap”—that was the word used by an assistant secretary of defense—“on a wall to see what sticks.”
Such hostility crosses political boundaries. In early 2009, when the New Yorker fact checking department asked the White House for comment on my first story after Barack Obama took office, a senior national security advisor to the President responded: “Seymour Hersh is a known fabricator.” He added the magazine could publish that response to any future Hersh story without further checking.
Alas, nothing has changed. Take a look at the casual dismissiveness of the senior spokesman of the State Department when asked a series of pipeline questions by a persistent reporter.
The New York Times published everything I wrote—most if not all on the front page—when I was an investigative reporter on the paper from 1972 to 1979. The Washington Post has followed my career as the loyal opposition and ran a long magazine profile of me more than two decades ago. Neither paper has run a word at this point about the pipeline story, not even to quote the White House’s denial of my reporting. Similarly, public calls by officials in Russia and China for a full investigation of the pipeline story have been ignored by the US media. (I cannot resist noting that a reporter from the Times called me on the day the pipeline story appeared. I told him that I was not doing interviews. He asked if I would entertain one question. I acquiesced. He asked how many publications had I offered the pipeline story before coming to Substack. Such silliness is a sign that the mainstream American press is now more interested in media gossip than in national security or matters of war and peace.)
There may be more to learn about Joe Biden’s decision to prevent the German government from having second thoughts about the lack of cheap gas this winter.