The fallout from Michael Hastings' inflammatory article in Rolling Stone about General Stanley McChrystal continues as journalists debate the appropriateness of Hastings' reporting. Hastings' article gave a frank albeit dismal assessment of the U.S.'s deteriorating prospects in Afghanistan, and contained candid disclosures by McChrystal and members of his inner circle that led to the end of McChrystal's military career. In a CNN interview, CBS News Chief Foreign Correspondent Lara Logan slammed Hastings, saying that there is an "unspoken agreement that you're not going to embarrass [the troops] by reporting insults and banter." Hastings says beat reporters like Logan, who report continuously on the military, publish little negative information about their subjects because it will end their access. In response to Logan's interview, Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi defended Hastings, explaining that this is a battle between journalists who act as handmaidens for the Pentagon and the White House, and reporters who deliver truth to the public. Taibbi, citing the Pentagon's huge $4.7 billion PR budget, says that "most of the major TV outlets are completely in the bag for the Pentagon." A reporter's job is not to be a cheerleader for his or her journalistic subjects, Taibbi says, but to get at the truth for the people of the U.S. who don't have the resources to find out the truth for themselves. The questions reporters need to be asking on behalf of the American people, he says, are " What the hell are we doing in Afghanistan? Is it worth all the bloodshed and the hatred? Who are the people running this thing, what is their agenda, and is that agenda the same thing we voted for?"
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