Seymour Hersh: Uncovering Nasty Secrets
From My Lai Massacre to Abu Ghraib
Seymour (Sy) Hersh broke into journalism in 1959 as a 22-year-old reporter with Chicago’s fabled City News Bureau, where it is said, editors would give neophytes this advice: “If your mother says she loves you, check it out.” Hersh, in his own cantankerous way, has been checking it out ever since, stalking out of controlled press conferences to seek one-on-one interviews with principals rather than spokesfolks, fighting with editors he felt were pussy-footing around his copy, and at times, even hearing howls of criticism from other reporters, unhappy about of his use of anonymous sources. He burst into national prominence in 1969 with his explosive exposé of the massacre and cover-up at My Lai during the Vietnam war, going on to become one of the legendary and most honored investigative reporters of his time. His reporting on My Lai got him the 1970 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting. Among his other honors: two National Magazine Awards in 2003 and 2004, five George Polk Awards from 1969 through 2004 (more than anyone else), and a George Orwell Award in 2004 for his “Distinguished Contribution to Honest and Clarity in Public Language.” In 1983, his book “The Price of Power: Kissinger in the Nixon White House,” a takedown of the former Secretary of State, won the National Book Critics Circle Award. He’s investigated and reported on various government activities such as clandestine CIA projects, the effort to create biological and chemical weapons, and the mistreatment of detainees at Abu Ghraib.
Hersh started as a police reporter in Chicago, became a UPI correspondent in South Dakota, then an AP correspondent in Chicago and Washington, and dabbled in presidential politics as press secretary for the 1968 run by Senator Eugene McCarthy. He returned to journalism as a freelancer covering Vietnam, which led to his My Lai exposé, sold to the Dispatch News Service and published in 33 newspapers. Hersh joined The New York Times in 1972 as a reporter in the Washington bureau, left in 1975 and came back in 1979. A frequent guest on TV news shows and the author of almost a dozen books, he became a regular contributor to The New Yorker in 1993, focusing on matters of national security.
His newest book, to be published in June, tells about all of it. It’s called “Reporter: A Memoir,” and it will be available at a special Silurian discount price of $20 at our next lunch, as will the author, who will sign copies. Make your reservations now.
The Date: June 20, 2018
The Time: Noon
The Place: The National Arts Club, 15 Gramercy Park South
PLEASE NOTE: Once again, we are likely to draw a strong response for this lunch, so make your reservation early. Even though the procedure for making lunch reservations has undergone some changes, reservations are still required. Here’s how to make them:
You may reserve via Eventbrite by linking to:
When you reach that site, click on the word “TICKETS” and follow the directions.
You can no longer reserve by emailing David Andelman, but you may continue to reserve by calling the Silurian reservation line at 212-532-0887. Lunch prices remain at $50 for members, $55 for guests, payable at the door by cash (exact change, please), check or credit card. Regardless of how you reserve, if you’re bringing a guest, make sure to give us your guest’s name. Each member is allowed to reserve for one guest, with additional guests put on a waiting list, pending a final count.