As reporters use Twitter to report that President Obama is accepting the resignation of General Stanley McChrystal, the biggest loser in the aftermath of the general’s poor judgment may be the American public. Yahoo! News reporter Michael Calderone writes that the military is locking down troops from talking with reporters, as NBC’s Richard Engel says notes.
The biggest loser in this is not McChrystal. Sure, he’s losing a career-making position. But this could be, but not needs to be, a big loss for the American public, which loses out on seeing the war in Afghanistan through the eyes of the soldiers and officers fighting the war.
This event is a reminder to sources that when you talk with or stand near reporters, you should assume you are standing at an enormous window visible to an entire nation or entire neighborhood that reads or watches what the journalist reports. The reaction should not be to hunker down and avoid media, but know that your actions before journalists are actions taken in a public light. That is too often forgotten.