12 July 2019

South Africa: Role of the Investigative Journalist Explored in Seymour Hersh Memoir

book review

"Reporter" is a high-quality account of some of the most important and groundbreaking events in the latter part of the 20th century. It is a significant contribution to the history of this period as portrayed from a different vantage point. Also, it is a decisive analysis of certain of the important personalities of the time.

In the early 1990s, I read The Sampson Option by Seymour Hersh. This was the beginning of my great admiration for this highly competent and fearless investigative journalist. He was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his exposé of the 1968 massacre in My Lai, during the Vietnam War, of women, children and elderly men. I was thus delighted to have acquired Hersh's latest book, Reporter - A Memoir, which was published recently.

In reading Reporter I was reminded of the wisdom of the observations of one of South Africa's most distinguished Chief Justices, Sir James Rose Innes, in his autobiography:

"Two great professions, teaching and journalism, have this in common - that they both occupy privileged positions, the former because of its enormous influence upon the plastic mind of the child, the latter because of its function of purveying news to children of a later...

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