You may only read this site if you've purchased Our Kampf from Amazon or Powell's or me
• • •
"Mike and Jon, Jon and Mike—I've known them both for years, and, clearly, one of them is very funny. As for the other: truly one of the great hangers-on of our time."—Steve Bodow, head writer, The Daily Show

"Who can really judge what's funny? If humor is a subjective medium, then can there be something that is really and truly hilarious? Me. This book."—Daniel Handler, author, Adverbs, and personal representative of Lemony Snicket

"The good news: I thought Our Kampf was consistently hilarious. The bad news: I’m the guy who wrote Monkeybone."—Sam Hamm, screenwriter, Batman, Batman Returns, and Homecoming

March 31, 2007

John Hockenberry On Reporting The War At NBC

Aaron Swartz came across an extremely interesting talk at MIT by John Hockenberry about his experience at NBC in the buildup to the invasion of Iraq. Here's some of what Hockenberry said:

I was very happily employed at NBC. I wasn't like, running around, trying to stuff toilet paper into the plumbing and sabotage the place. [...] But I was interested, because we had a lot of meetings at NBC about, you know, if you're doing a story and the person you're doing the story about offers to buy you a drink, you've gotta say no. If you're doing a story and they send you, after they see the story, some napkin rings -- silver napkin rings that are monogrammed "Thank you, Jon, for the story," you've got not only to return those, you've got to report those to the standards people at NBC because there's a whole ethics and conflict-of-interest thing.

So at one of these ethics meetings -- I called them the return-the-napkin-ring kinds of meetings -- I raised my hand and said "You know, isn't it a problem that the contract that GE has with the Coalition Provisional Authority [...] to rebuild the power generation system in Iraq [is] about the size of the entire budget of NBC? Is that kind of like the napkin rings thing?" And the standards people said "Huh. That's interesting. No one's brought that up before." Now I'm not saying that I'm smart or that I'm advanced or that I'm ahead of my colleagues or maybe I had a lot of free time to think about this or maybe I'm some pinko-proto-lefty like Richard Nixon. I don't know! But the fact that it drew a complete blank among the NBC standards people was interesting to me...

You may or may not be aware that there was a real strong full-court press to sell the media -- and I'm not pro- or against it at this particular point, but there was a process in place where individuals in the media got access to the individuals involved in the planning of the war. There were generals who came in, there were former secretaries of defense, Schwarzkopf spent a whole lot of time giving sort of off-the-record, quiet briefings. And the generals would sort of bring in a certain group of editors and reporters and I went to all of these briefings.

And there's more.

Posted at March 31, 2007 10:05 AM | TrackBack

Listen to he money talk.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at March 31, 2007 12:47 PM

i love the rove quote, about how beating on people is the best way to make friends.

Posted by: hibiscus at March 31, 2007 02:31 PM

Amaverint dum metuant-Let them love us, as long as they fear us.

Posted by: Paul Avery at April 1, 2007 10:22 AM

Good site. Thanks!!!

Posted by: tramadol prescription at April 16, 2007 07:39 PM

Good site. Thanks!!!

Posted by: tramadol prescription at April 16, 2007 07:39 PM

Good site. Thanks!!!

Posted by: tramadol prescription at April 16, 2007 07:40 PM