Slate’s Chris Suellentrop has a lengthy article in New York magazine about Seymour Hersh’s willingness to bend the truth when he’s speaking to audiences. Hersh’s New Yorker articles, which I have linked to often, are not in question. Here’s how Suellentrop describes it:
There are two Hershes, really. Seymour M. is the byline. He navigates readers through the byzantine world of America’s overlapping national-security bureaucracies, and his stories form what Hersh has taken to calling an “alternative history” of the Bush administration since September 11, 2001. Then there’s Sy. He’s the public speaker, the pundit. On the podium, Sy is willing to tell a story that’s not quite right, in order to convey a Larger Truth. “Sometimes I change events, dates, and places in a certain way to protect people,” Hersh told me. “I can’t fudge what I write. But I can certainly fudge what I say.”
Bottom line: when you read something from a Hersh speech that sounds unbelievable, maybe you shouldn’t believe it. I’ve read many items on weblogs discussing things Hersh has said, but refused to link to them because I couldn’t confirm them anywhere.