Dinner with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist

By Bethany Pint

I was able to meet with Seymour Hersh, the Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist, at a dinner before his March 9 lecture at Iowa State.I was familiar with Hersh’s work with the 2004 Abu Ghraib prison scandal because I had read an excerpt of “Chain of Command: The Road from 9/11 to Abu Ghraib” in my Public Affairs Reporting class with Dr. David Bulla.  I read his work that exposed the Vietnam War’s My Lai massacre in the same class.

The dinner with Hersh and others involved in the lecture series and guests wasn’t focused on his storytelling of the eight books he’s authored. Instead, Hersh talked more of where he’s traveled, his children, his tennis game, people he’s met and his criticisms of the government.

Meeting Mr. Hersh and listening to his lecture in “The Crisis in American Foreign Policy” helped put a face to the stories. His explanation of covering the stories and meeting his sources helped to visualize the challenges of writing war-related stories.

Hersh told the story of meeting Pfc. Paul Meadlo, a U.S. soldier involved in the My Lai massacre, at Meadlo’s home in New Goshen, Ind.

A quote from Meadlo’s mother helped explain what the massacre and what war does to families: “I gave them a good boy, and they sent me back a murderer,” the mother said, according to Hersh.

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