The narrative technique has spurred journalistic debate about the authenticity of the account and presentation, in particular its vague attribution. One concern, not shared by all in the craft, was that the piece did not sufficiently explain to readers that the SEALS themselves were not interviewed, even though the piece said it was depending on their "recollections."
Poynter's Mallary Jean Tenore has weighed in with an article featuring narrative and ethics leaders examining the method and delivery of the story. While all believe the story was important and well-told, some indicate the standard of the piece could have been improved with some transparency. Others concluded that the piece has broadened the territory for narrative journalism.