Random commentary and senseless acts of blogging.
The first Republican president once said, "While the people retain their virtue and their vigilance, no administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can seriously injure the government in the short space of four years." If Mr. Lincoln could see what's happened in these last three-and-a-half years, he might hedge a little on that statement.
Prisoners of Azkaban
Monday, March 17, 2003
Howard Kurtz has a rather peculiar piece on the Weisman letter in today's column. After giving a statement by a Post editor that newspaper policy is to reproduce quotes accurately, he then cites the White House:
White House spokeswoman Claire Buchan says that the practice is "infrequent" and that it was done "to accommodate Jonathan," who had told her by e-mail that the unnamed official was "very skittish about even talking on background." But Weisman says he was told the arrangement was the only way the interview would be granted.
That's the end of the piece. He doesn't ask what is meant by the vague term 'infrequent', a non-denial denial which is an implicit confirmation that the practice has been applied in other instances. He doesn't inquire into the strange claim that it was done for the benefit of the reporter, who obviously would have required this 'benefit' only if his source was afraid to be quoted even anonymously. As a professional journalist who lives in DC and must know hundreds of reporters who use White House sources for their stories, he probably knows if this practice is widespread and could certainly find out, but he doesn't say. He doesn't raise the question of whether other, similarly doctored, quotes have appeared in the Post, nor does Jill Dutt, the editor whose assertion that such quotes violate policy appears both in Kurtz's column and on Romanesko's letter page.