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Chris Hedges Unmasks American Empire in "Unspeakable"

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Right. In contrast, [Times reporter] John Burns had taken a stand supporting the war, but he didn't get reprimanded. It wasn't taking a strong stand that was the problem. It was taking a stand contrary to the dominant narrative.

And so you get this formal reprimand?


And then what happens?

I realize it's terminal. It was not easy. I didn't want to lose my job. But I was faced with a choice. I could muzzle myself in fealty to my career, but to do so would be to betray my father. I could not do that. When I left the building, I knew it was over. I also articulated for the first time what my father had given me -- freedom. I did not need the Times or any institution to tell me who I was. I knew who I was. I was my father's son.

I negotiated a fellowship with Hamilton Fish at The Nation Institute and left the paper.

So you quit -- you didn't get fired, as some believe.

I did not get fired, as [current New York Times executive editor] Dean Baquet reminded me the last time I saw him.

Do you think you would have been fired ultimately?

I'm not sure. I think many at the paper rolled their eyes and thought, "There he goes again." I didn't sense they wanted to lynch me. They were covering their asses. At the same time, I was often clueless about the internal politics. I could be wrong. Certainly, if there was another national incident like Rockford, they would have gotten rid of me.

I don't have any animus toward the Times. I had a great run. They sent me all over the world. I am much, much happier writing books. I speak and write in my own voice.

Financially I have survived. I still read the paper.

*David Talbot is the author of the New York Times bestseller "Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years" and "The Devil's Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America's Secret Government." He is the founder and former editor in chief of Salon. He lives in San Francisco, Calif.

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Chris Hedges spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years.

Hedges was part of the team of (more...)

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