My conversation with journalist and bestselling author James Kirchick
I had never heard of Kirchick previously, butI'm very interested in the Cold War period he covers in this book. I also thought his gay history entry point into these events quite creative. However, I stumbled over his interpretation of District Attorney Jim Garrison's efforts in 1967-1967 New Orleans to uncover elements of the JFK assassination plot as mere persecution of homosexuals. While I don't doubt that publicity-seeking Garrison might have played up the gay angle to emotionally sway a Southern jury, his investigation was much deeper than a "homosexual thrill killing," as Kirchick puts it. Garrison's target was nothing less than the US government. Kirchick either didn't get that, or he chose to deliberately misrepresent what happened as mere gay perescution to further his narrative angle. And don't forget, we finally learned decades later that the defendant in that trial, Clay Shaw, was in fact an asset of the CIA. That was what Garrison tried (and failed) to prove in 1967. Kirchick disingenously chooses not to mention that, since it does not support his thesis.
Rational people can see things differently, so I persevered with the interview. Then Kirchick somehow veered into current events in Ukraine, where he mockingly dismissed years of hard evidence of neo-nazi influence in Ukrainian politics as ridiculous Russian disinformation. At that point it became clear that he was an arrogant ideologue, and I switched off the podcast.
Lo and behold, later this same afternoon I came across his name for the second time in my life, on the Antiwar.com website. It turns out that he recently published a rabidly prowar article about the Ukraine situation filled with misrepresentations, clearly indicating that he is quite the ideologue, and apparently of the neocon variety.
I think there are some excellent points made in this conversation and that it's paramount for journalists (as is pointed out by Kirchick) to present as much as they "uncover" when reporting on a story. Today's journalists are hamstrung by parent companies to present a predetermined "side" of the 'facts' as damning or as glowing as they see fit. (Yes, I thoroughly enjoyed David Greenberg's segment on "Lean Out" as well as the Columbia Journalism panel discussion ... perhaps 'enjoyed is the wrong word, I think I was actually gobsmacked to hear the downgrading of 'objectivity' as the majority of the panel members believe themselves to be saviours . Kirchick obviously has a side (we all do) and he's presenting a side that *has* been covered up. Good work, Tara!