WILL THE REAL LADY GAGA PLEASE STAND UP: Matt Taibbi Calls Out CBS’ Lara Logan And Her Notion Of The Media As The Obedient Lapdog Of Power


MATT TAIBBI: See, according to Lara Logan [pictured, below left], not only are reporters not supposed to disclose their agendas to sources at all times, but in the case of covering the military, one isn’t even supposed to have an agenda that might upset the brass! Why? Because there is an “element of trust” that you’re supposed to have when you hang around the likes of a McChrystal. You cover a war commander, he’s got to be able to trust that you’re not going to embarrass him. Otherwise, how can he possibly feel confident that the right message will get out?

lara-logan.jpgTrue, the Pentagon does have perhaps the single largest public relations apparatus on earth – spending $4.7 billion on P.R. in 2009 alone and employing 27,000 people, a staff nearly as large as the 30,000-person State Department – but is that really enough to ensure positive coverage in a society with armed with a constitutionally-guaranteed free press?

And true, most of the major TV outlets are completely in the bag for the Pentagon, with two of them (NBC/GE and Logan’s own CBS, until recently owned by Westinghouse, one of the world’s largest nuclear weapons manufacturers) having operated for years as leaders in both the broadcast media and weapons-making businesses.

But is that enough to guarantee a level playing field? Can a general really feel safe that Americans will get the right message when the only tools he has at his disposal are a $5 billion P.R. budget and the near-total acquiescence of all the major media companies, some of whom happen to be the Pentagon’s biggest contractors?

Does the fact that the country is basically barred from seeing dead bodies on TV, or the fact that an embedded reporter in a war zone literally cannot matt-taibbi.jpgtake a shit without a military attaché at his side (I’m not joking: while embedded at Camp Liberty in Iraq, I had to be escorted from my bunk to the latrine) really provide the working general with the security and peace of mind he needs to do his job effectively?

Apparently not, according to Lara Logan. Apparently in addition to all of this, reporters must also help out these poor public relations underdogs in the Pentagon by adhering to an “unspoken agreement” not to embarrass the brass, should they tilt back a few and jam their feet into their own mouths in front of a reporter holding a microphone in front of their faces. MORE

HUFFPO: Matt Taibbi [pictured, above right] was responding to Logan’s appearance on CNN’s Reliable Sources Sunday, during which she trashed Rolling Stone writer Michael Hastings for violating an “unspoken agreement” and publishing anecdotes in his article on General McChrystal that she feels were meant to be off-the-record. Logan also maligned Hastings’ methods of gaining McChrystal’s trust in order to facilitate their interview. MORE

PREVIOUSLY: AFGHANISLAM: McChrystal In Dutch With The White House For Loose Cannon-isms In Rolling Stone Profile

PREVIOUSLY: McChrystal Fired Over Rolling Stone Flap

gagaga.jpgFORBES: Lady Gaga can thank Virgin Mobile, Polaroid, Monster and Viva Glam for helping her earn $62 million between June 2009 and June 2010. The fact that her music is insanely popular doesn’t hurt either. She earned $31 million from a 106-date tour and her video for Telephone (featuring Beyoncé) has been viewed 90 million times. Gaga’s Internet presence is so strong that she ranks first on our list for Web hits and social networking. With a new album in the works Gaga should have a long life on the Celebrity 100 list. MORE

ALSO: Steve Carell, the bumbling star of NBC’s “The Office,” plans to leave the series at the end of the next season, potentially dealing a setback to the network as it tries to rejuvenate its prime time schedule. “The Office” is NBC’s No. 1 prime-time show among the 18- to 49-year-old viewers that advertisers value, in part because of Mr. Carell, who has played the boss of Dunder Mifflin, Michael Scott, since the show’s debut in 2005. In recent years, it has been a rare bright spot on the schedule of the low-rated network. In separate interviews last weekend, Mr. Carell seemed to confirm reports that he would leave when his contract expires at the end of the 2010-11 season. MORE

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