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McChrystal: Taken down by the media
How a reporter brought down the US' top military commander in Afghanistan.
Last Modified: 29 Aug 2010 16:33 GMT



On The Listening Post this week: A profile in Rolling Stone magazine brings down the US' top military commander in Afghanistan and we look at the stories of three journalists on the run from their countries.

As the commander of international forces in what has become the US' longest running war, General Stanley McChrystal was not unused to media attention. But the man who had weathered the dangers of the battlefield and the vagaries of changing political patronage, was taken down by the media - by Michael Hastings, a reporter on assignment with Rolling Stone magazine.

Hastings was embedded with McChrystal and his team for a month and the in-depth profile that resulted from those 30 days was explosive. The general and his team were quoted making disparaging comments about Barack Obama, the US president, and his national security team - a clear violation of the military code of conduct.

In the explosion of media coverage that followed the spectacular dismissal of the general, the focus of the news paradoxically became the article and the journalist who wrote it. In our News Divide this week we look at what the protestations by so much of American media reveal about the state of political reporting in the US today.

In this week's Newsbytes: Google scrambles to keep its slipping grip on the Chinese web market; a new blog in Mexico lifts the lid on the drug business in a way that the mainstream media is too scared to do; Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, fails to overturn an opposition bid for newsdaily Le Monde; and Hamas releases a second animated video themed on Gilad Schalit, the Israeli soldier who has reportedly been in their custody for four years.

Journalists in places like Sri Lanka, Rwanda and Iran will tell you that their job is amongst the toughest professions in their countries. The figures from a report by the Committee to Protect Journalists would back up that fact - this year alone, 85 journalists have had to escape and we thought this was a chance for us to revisit a feature we did on exiled journalists. Meenakshi Ravo caught up with three journalists - Pearl Thevanayagam from Sri Lanka, Lance Guma from Zimbabwe and Khin Maung Win from Myanmar - and asked them what drove them out of their homes, why journalism both inside their countries and from outside is such a challenge and if they ever see themselves returning home.

You often hear people being asked if they could have lunch with any three people, who would they be. But let us refine that question. If you could start a band with any three people, all of whom have had to have won the Nobel Peace Prize, who would they be? We bet you that at least one of the names in your head is in our Internet Video of the Week.

This episode of The Listening Post aired from Friday, July 2, 2010.

Source:
Al Jazeera
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