Patterico's Pontifications

7/30/2005

Big Media: Anonymity Good . . . Transparency Bad

Filed under: Media Bias — Patterico @ 10:08 am

Hugh Hewitt has begun implementing a new policy towards print reporters who want to interview him about John Roberts. He tells them: sure, you can interview me — but you have to do it live, on my radio show. That way, everyone will hear the complete interview — and they will know what you put in, what you left out, and how you spun my comments.

Guess what? Nobody has taken him up on it yet.

I wonder why. The latest reporter to decline his offer said she didn’t want the story “out there” before it ran in her paper. I have a different theory: she doesn’t want to lose her control over the way Hugh’s comments are portrayed to the public. I have discussed this issue in detail previously, in this post.

P.S. Hugh could establish for us which theory is right by agreeing not to run the interview live, but insisting on taping and broadcasting the whole thing.

14 Responses to “Big Media: Anonymity Good . . . Transparency Bad”

  1. ” The latest reporter to decline his offer said she didn’t want the story “out there” before it ran in her paper.”

    A very important thing for a journalist.

    actus (5b2f21)

  2. And an unimportant thing for the public good.

    Still, maybe Hugh could compromise and tape the entire interview to run after the story is published.

    Patterico (756436)

  3. “And an unimportant thing for the public good.”

    It would be very nice for the public good if more people did things that put them at competitive disadvantages yes. I mean, sharing a story with others so that it is published by another before you publish it would be great!

    “Still, maybe Hugh could compromise and tape the entire interview to run after the story is published. ”

    Or he could just tell people his side on his radio show. Does he have a credibility problem or something that would make him not believable?

    actus (5b2f21)

  4. Presumably, her story is still a story even without the interview with Hugh Hewitt. It should be interesting to see what this story is once it gets “out there” any day now. Hugh mentions there’s still no story from Amy Goldstein/Washington Post yet. Maybe without Hugh as a source, she’s busy lining up some sources on his staff on double super secret background.

    Amy to Hugh’s secret staff member: “Psst, Has Hugh ever mentioned if he’s seen Roberts put on boxers or briefs in the locker room?”

    Shredstar (91b3b2)

  5. Or he could just tell people his side on his radio show. Does he have a credibility problem or something that would make him not believable?

    No, but leftists like you would still claim that he wasn’t giving listeners the whole scoop. With a tape, you would have to make the even more ridiculous claim that he had doctored the tape.

    Patterico (756436)

  6. I am sure that ALL the WaPo readers listen to Hugh’s show with bated breath every second that it is on. I bet they commit every word to memory. If that mean old Hugh broadcast the interview live, then poor Amy would have nothing to say that all her readers hadn’t already heard.

    Barbara Hallahan (020082)

  7. Acthole’s comment about a competitive disadvantage is fair. While all WaPo readers won’t listen to the interview live, it’s a safe bet that at least one journalist from the NY Times will, as will at least one from the Washington Times, the Chicago Tribune, and every other major paper in the nation – thereby ruining whatever advantage the Wapo got by doing a free interview for everyone else to report on. But as Patterico has noted, agreeing to broadcast the interview even a week later – six days after it became old news – would not have this problem.

    Xrlq (158f18)

  8. Your post from January linked in this post is a good read Patterico.

    I think the competition argument is a fair one. I suspect however that even a tape delay would be unacceptable to them. I think what they’re really interested in is controlling the impression they can give to their readers and not getting caught when they creatively edit.

    Dwilkers (a1687a)

  9. “No, but leftists like you would still claim that he wasn’t giving listeners the whole scoop.”

    Don’t stop him from whining now, won’t stop him in the future.

    “But as Patterico has noted, agreeing to broadcast the interview even a week later – six days after it became old news – would not have this problem.”

    Good point. But lots of journalists operate on background with their sources, this guy wants to have nothing on background, including what the journalist says. Why not instead just broadcast his opinions and anyone who wants them can run them?

    actus (5b2f21)

  10. It doesn’t have to be one or the other…

    Let’s not confuse an on-air interview with a printed article. One can easily imagine that listening to the interview may tip competitors, but, that’s where the art and professionalism of the reporter comes in. Doing a thoughtful on-air interview would build confidence and mutual respect. Then, private follow ups would be in order once trust and integrity were established. Can’t we all just get along?

    Black Jack (ee9fe2)

  11. How strange? The MSM doesn’t have the balls to stand up to the scrutiny it demands of those of us who dare question them!

    The only meaningful demonstration of MSM honesty will be the forceful trashing of the Pulitzer award to NYT Stalinist war crimes apologist Walter Duranty and the forceful exit of that unforgiveable Stalinist war crimes apologist Arthur Ochs Sulzberger. Only when the war crimes apologist Sulzberger is flushed down the sewers of Manhattan will we patriots be willing to read the New Jerk Times!

    Mescalero (778e22)

  12. “How strange? The MSM doesn’t have the balls to stand up to the scrutiny it demands of those of us who dare question them!”

    I don’t think that newspaper reporters usually put their interviewees under constant surveillance. The ones I know discuss with their sources what is and is not to be quoted.

    “Acthole’s ”

    I’d forgotten I was around grownups.

    actus (a5f574)

  13. Why not tape the interview, then play it on the show after the article is published?

    AGS (c01c64)


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