Saturday, July 02, 2005


This is certainly something I've wondered about through this whole thing. Now, there's certainly a difference between journalists believing they probably knew who the leaker was and being sure that what they knew was actually true and not just conventional wisdom/gossip. Digby writes:

Moreover, is it normal that members of the press know the answer to a major mystery but they withhold it, as a group, from the public? I thought their job was to reveal the answers to major mysteries. In fact, this seems like the scoop of the decade. Back in the day, reporters were racing to get the news of semen stains and talking points on the air mere seconds before their rivals. Now, they all keep quiet?

This is a very interesting professional and ethical question for the media. Does the reporter's privilege extend to his friends? Here you apparently have quite a few members of the DC press corps with a piece of very juicy information (allegedly) about the most powerful political operative in the United States --- information that also has to do with an important matter of national security and a Justice department investigation. In some sort of friendship extension of the reporter's privilege they say nothing. Amazing.

And during the time they say nothing an election is held in which the political operative in question works feverishly to smear his client's opponent with scurrilous charges of borderline treason and cowardly behavior during wartime. The entire election is premised on the fact that the president, this man's client, is the only one capable of handling national security. His prior campaign had been waged with an overt promise to bring honor and integrity back to the White House. Still nothing.

Finally, when their friend seems headed to jail and his boss has agreed to turn over notes, they start to step up and reveal what they know.

Hookay. I think it's time to convene another conference on blogger ethics and professional journalistic standards. I get so confused about these things.