Lara Logan’s Misplaced Question

CBS reporter Lara Logan took to CNN’s Reliable Sources this weekend to criticize Michael Hastings and the article he wrote for Rolling Stone that led to the departure of General Stanley McChrystal.

She doubted that Hastings had honored off the record commitments (“I just — I don’t believe it”); said it was an “egregious” offense for journalists to build trust with their sources, only to then report remarks that could cause the subject trouble; and that it was “insulting and arrogant” for Hastings to claim he wrote a story that beat reporters could not.

Along with all that, Logan offered this:

I mean, the question is, really, is what General McChrystal and his aides are doing so egregious, that they deserved to end a career like McChrystal’s? I mean, Michael Hastings has never served his country the way McChrystal has.

Logan’s question is the right one: Was what McChrystal and his aides did so bad as to compel the president to accept his resignation? But it’s not a question for Hastings—whether or not he’s ever enlisted.

It’s a question for the president, who, after learning of what McChrystal and his aides were “doing,” decided that his career had to end.

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Clint Hendler is the managing editor of Mother Jones, and a former deputy editor of CJR.