Author of the week
“Seymour Hersh is not so much a journalist as a terrier,” said Josephine Livingstone In NewRepublic.com. In his new memoir, Reporter, the 81-year-old but far-from-retired investigative journalism legend repeatedly exhibits a monomaniacal focus on whatever story he’s chasing. He once was introduced to John Lennon and had to be reminded who Lennon was, because Watergate was bigger to him than the Beatles. Another time, he was so determined to stretch a 4,000-word CIA exposé to 5,000 words that he called his New York Times editor at home at 2 a.m. to beg for a remapping of that morning’s paper. When the editor’s wife picked up and revealed, bitterly, that her husband had left her, he briefly felt awful for troubling her. Then he called her back to try to get the new girlfriend’s number.
Hersh initially resisted the idea that the time was right for him to look back on his role in exposing the My Lai massacre, torture at Abu Ghraib, and countless other Washington misdeeds, said Michael Grynbaum in The New York Times. “I’m still doing it,” he says. And that’s true. After parting ways with The New Yorker in 2015 and going elsewhere to publish an account of Osama bin Laden’s killing that frequently contradicts the official version, he’s found various homes for his scoops while working on a book that targets former Vice President Dick Cheney. Some of his recent reporting has been questioned, but Hersh is used to doubters, and he even gives his ex–New Yorker boss a pass for tiring of the controversies he created. “It’s inevitable that you wear out an editor—you just wear them out,” he says. “I’m mouthy, too, so there you are.” ■