I really don't see all the fuss about Chattanooga Times Free Press reporter Edward Lee Pitts planting questions for soldiers to ask Donald Rumsfeld. I mean, yes, it violated the general essence of "reporting news" and crossed the line into "creating news", but that's hardly novel. As bloggers are so fond of pointing out, journalists aren't a magical breed of wall-flowers, they're just regular people who write stuff down.
The only problem I have is that Mr. Pitts didn't reveal his involvement when he wrote the story, which was rather misleading. He was a major player; he should have made sure his readers knew about the set-up, just like whenever reporters run sting operations. Was he trying to damage Mr. Rumsfeld? Maybe. But is the lack of armor appalling? Yeah, they've had a long time to get the armor there, and the problem needs to be solved. It's damaging because it's true. (Assuming my assessment of the armor usefulness is correct, of course, but it's not as if the Army is saying they don't want or need it.)