Patterico's Pontifications

7/14/2006

No New Evidence to Show WSJ Would Have Published the Swift Story or That the Government Asked Them Not To

Filed under: General,Terrorism — Patterico @ 12:00 am

Courtesy of actus comes this link to a New York Observer piece that suggests, based on anonymous sources, that the Wall Street Journal had been working on the Swift story for months:

According to Journal staffers with knowledge of the situation, Mr. Simpson, who is based in Brussels, had been working for months on a story about government monitoring of the international banking system operated by the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or SWIFT. On June 22, Mr. Simpson was in Washington when a Treasury source tipped him that The Times would be publishing a piece on the subject, according to Journal sources. Mr. Simpson delayed a flight back to Belgium and raced to put out a piece on deadline, posting one online minutes after the Times story went out. The Journal, The Times, the Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post all had SWIFT stories in the next day’s papers.

I have previously discussed the Wall Street Journal‘s involvement here and here. I noted that 1) the government didn’t ask the Journal not to publish, and 2) unlike the L.A. Times, whose editor has made it clear he would have published regardless, there is no certainty that the Journal would have published if the New York Times hadn’t first. In the second link, I also relied on Paul Gigot’s statement that the paper wouldn’t have published.

Based on the N.Y. Observer story, I was probably too hasty in assuming that the editorial side in any way spoke for the news side, which is thought by most conservatives to be far more liberal than the editorial side. The story makes clear that the news side of the Wall Street Journal disagrees with what the editorial side said. I too credulously accepted the editorial side’s position as speaking for the paper as an institution.

But what I said before is still true now:

[F]or all we know, the Wall Street Journal had no intention of publishing the story once they learned that the program was safe, legal, and effective. They may well have decided — like the Washington Post and the entire blogosphere — that once the New York Times had spilled the beans, it was now news and had to be discussed.

It certainly sounds like this is still the case. The editors of the New York Times and L.A. Times have made it crystal clear in a joint op-ed piece that they would have run the story regardless. We don’t know that about the Journal. It is also still true that, as far as we know, the government didn’t ask the Wall Street Journal not to publish.

The same can’t be said of the New York Times or L.A. Times. I stand by my earlier conclusion: the papers to blame are the New York Times and the L.A. Times, in that order.

P.S. Don’t miss Jacob Weisberg’s piece criticizing the publication of the Swift stories. Weisberg is the editor of Slate. He is a lefty who is behind the often-flawed “Bushisms” series. Yet even he says:

To run with a story with the potential to cause significant harm to the national interest, I’d argue, an editor needs one of two things: a solid claim of public interest, or a sound basis for thinking that a story won’t in fact damage national security. In the case of the SWIFT story, editors at the Times were notably weak in both suits.

That’s the right analysis. I don’t agree with the whole of his piece, but it’s hard to find a rational leftist who thinks that publication was a good idea.

The Wall Street Journal might have come to the same conclusion, if the New York Times hadn’t made it a moot point.

92 Responses to “No New Evidence to Show WSJ Would Have Published the Swift Story or That the Government Asked Them Not To”

  1. Speaking of wartime secrets, what the hell is David Lee Miller of Fox doing giving detailed information about the location of Israeli troops? He get’s shot at too during the live interview. Thank you Fox…
    http://www.rawstory.com/news/2006/Fox_crew_shot_at_in_Israel_0713.html

    Psyberian (dd13d6)

  2. Trying to read all three pieces from the point of view of a terror/drugs/arms financier, I was struck by the utility of the information in each, and that each added intriguing new specifics to what was already known. The WSJ article wasn’t a “me too” piece any more than the LAT one was.

    That said, financing expert Victor Comras has offered his opinion that not much damage was done by the three. So between him,
    Asst. Sect’y Levey, and Weisberg, there is a range of analysis to consider.

    Though the “practical damage” issue is only one of the questions raised by this episode. “Who gets to decide whether to publish and whether to obey the law” is another one.

    AMac (528d4b)

  3. “Based on the N.Y. Observer story, I was probably too hasty in assuming that the editorial side in any way spoke for the news side, which is thought by most conservatives to be far more liberal than the editorial side.”

    It’s not unreasonable to believe that the editorial board speaks for the newspaper. That’s its job. The amusing part, imo, about the article is that the reporters took umbrage at the idea that the administration considered them less biased than the NYT or LAT. That’s one for the books.

    sharon (fecb65)

  4. But what I said before is still true now:

    [F]or all we know, the Wall Street Journal had no intention of publishing the story once they learned that the program was safe, legal, and effective. They may well have decided — like the Washington Post and the entire blogosphere — that once the New York Times had spilled the beans, it was now news and had to be discussed.

    It certainly sounds like this is still the case.

    I do not agree. Although it is possible that they would never have published without the impetus provided by the NYT, I think it more likely that they would have published. The support I offer for this is twofold: the large effort expended by the news side via Simpson’s background work and the very fact that they rushed into publication once they got the headsup about the NYT.

    You essentially are saying that the WSJ editors had Simpson spend months on this exact story and concluded for themselves that the program was “safe, legal and effective” and thus not worthy of publication. I submit that no large news organization puts this much of its assets behind a story it does not intend to publish, in some form, from some angle, at some time.

    And if the news side had concluded through all that background work that the program was indeed “safe, legal and effective,” the NYT story itself would have in effect automatically turned the WSJ news side’s findings into publishable news, as opposed to suppositions in the NYT story. Indeed, this gets complicated, because a part of the WSJ story does effectively report out unsourced official admin sources as saying there’s no there there, because the program is “safe, legal and effective.” Still, that was not the lede the WSJ story took, so it’s safe to point out that they were not publishing a simple news rebuttal to the NYT. Thus, it’s valid to suggest that the WSJ had every intention of publishing on this story from the get-go.

    I respect what you are doing in discussing this, and none of us can be sure, but I think you are putting in overtime trying to separate unseparable players for assignment of blame.

    It is refreshing to see it acknowledged that a major newspaper can have news and Op-Ed sides that are two different animals. In some cases, as at the LAT, these animals appear to drink from the same side of the pond–you would insist intentionally, I would disagree. In other cases, such as at the WSJ and as evidenced now for years, these animals not only drink from opposite sides of the pond, they eye each other warily, often with open hostility.

    Sharon:

    It’s not unreasonable to believe that the editorial board speaks for the newspaper. That’s its job.

    Is a tautological fallacy in that it is a truth without significance to the discussion. The editorial board speaks for the newspaper–for the newspaper’s editorial positions, not for its news coverage. I guarantee that if the WSJ Op-Ed people began to/had the ability to direct the coverage by the news side, over time, several things would follow: the news side would rebel, the best reporters and editors would leave, and the paper’s well-deserved respect would vanish.

    Nash (d66115)

  5. I also enjoyed Weisberg’s piece in Slate, and I think it came pretty close to capturing my opinions on the topic. The more I learned about the SWIFT program, the more uncomfortable I felt with its disclosure. At the same time, however, I think that labeling the disclosure as “treasonous”, as many have done, represents ridiculous exaggeration. The press has a responsibility to report on government activity, and there will always be gray areas that require important judgment calls. In this case, I think the papers made the wrong call, but I don’t think they made that call for sinister reasons.

    unceph (b169f3)

  6. “Is a tautological fallacy in that it is a truth without significance to the discussion. The editorial board speaks for the newspaper–for the newspaper’s editorial positions, not for its news coverage.”

    Nash, my comment was with respect to Patterico’s assumption in this statement:

    “Based on the N.Y. Observer story, I was probably too hasty in assuming that the editorial side in any way spoke for the news side”

    It’s normal for those not associated with journalism to assume that the editorial board speaks for the newspaper. Try reading first next time.

    sharon (03e82c)

  7. I submit that no large news organization puts this much of its assets behind a story it does not intend to publish, in some form, from some angle, at some time.

    I think you’d have a different perspective if you talked to a real reporter. They often spend a long time on stories that go nowhere.

    Patterico (50c3cd)

  8. As the son of a lifetime print journalist, I’m qualified to disagree, Patterico.

    They may spend a long time on stories that go nowhere, but that is because they are stymied by any number of reasons–lack of (used to be) on record, attributable sources and failure to get confirmation, need for direct quote but source will only allow paraphrase, source refuses to confirm quote readback, etc.

    It is almost never the case that they stay on stories long term if every avenue they try is met with answers that are non-newsworthy, which is what your argument necessarily contains, unspoken, within it. Simpson didn’t pick up the phone everyday to be told there’s no there there by every source he touched, not for month after month. Editors are notorious for cutting losses–and they have periodic reviews with their reporters and if the story isn’t getting advanced, the reporter gets pulled and reassigned. This happens on a timescale of weeks, not months.

    You are connected to journalism? It doesn’t work the way you imply. When, as you say, a long time is spent on a story that never (or as in the NSA story, belatedly) gets published, it’s because of specific “problems” with the story–again source problems, government officials raising concerns about security, confirmations, the like.

    No, IMHO, Simpson was on to something–odds are, much the same thing that NYT was on to.

    Nash (d66115)

  9. We don’t know that about the Journal

    Its interesting that this is your guess. That they would work on a story for months and then allow themselves to be scooped by the NYT and LAT.

    It’s not unreasonable to believe that the editorial board speaks for the newspaper. That’s its job.

    When It comes to the WSJ, thats kind of wrong. Specially on this matter, as we know already that the op-ed on this matter wasn’t written by asking the news people.

    actus (6234ee)

  10. The WSJ didn’t (seem to) pull its punches by restricting its article’s content to points that had already been uncovered by the NYT and LAT; it broke new ground. That indirectly argues against Patterico’s point on the Journal’s greater restraint.

    I say “seem to” because none of us know what secret or damaging information the reporters and editors may have chosen to withhold from publication.

    AMac (b6037f)

  11. “When It comes to the WSJ, thats kind of wrong. Specially on this matter, as we know already that the op-ed on this matter wasn’t written by asking the news people.”

    How is this “kind of wrong”? Is the WSJ editorial board different from the editorial board of other newspapers? And, again, you should read what Patterico wrote, which is what I was commenting about.

    sharon (03e82c)

  12. How is this “kind of wrong”?

    Because the WSJ has a big wall separating news and editorial content. They’re kind of famous for that. So the editorials don’t really speak for the news people. Thats not their job.

    actus (6234ee)

  13. I think sharon’s point is that she is aware of that, actus, but she is also pointing out that most non-journalists probably aren’t, which I’d agree with.

    With all due respect to Patterico, it appeared that he was one of those people who didn’t fully appreciate that as well:

    In the second link, I also relied on Paul Gigot’s statement that the paper wouldn’t have published.

    Based on the N.Y. Observer story, I was probably too hasty in assuming that the editorial side in any way spoke for the news side,

    but it is clear he now understands the distinction, although I’d wager he’d not go so far as to say it applies in general, but just in this case.

    Nash (d66115)

  14. “So the editorials don’t really speak for the news people.”

    No, it speaks for the newspaper, the reporters’ employer.

    sharon (03e82c)

  15. “I think sharon’s point is that she is aware of that, actus, but she is also pointing out that most non-journalists probably aren’t, which I’d agree with.”

    Agreed, Nash.

    sharon (03e82c)

  16. No, it speaks for the newspaper, the reporters’ employer.

    Like a PR man.

    actus (6234ee)

  17. “Like a PR man.”

    Probably not. I’m sure the people who are on the editorial board would say not, considering they usually get promoted from being reporters and editors. But if you want to keep believing this, go for it.

    sharon (03e82c)

  18. I’m sure the people who are on the editorial board would say not, considering they usually get promoted from being reporters and editors

    Do reporters and editors have negative views of PR people? I’d say an op-ed page is closer to PR than to reporting. Their job is to make and deliver opinions. Not report facts and find truths.

    actus (6234ee)

  19. “Do reporters and editors have negative views of PR people? I’d say an op-ed page is closer to PR than to reporting. Their job is to make and deliver opinions. Not report facts and find truths.”

    The fact that reporters and editors have negative views of PR people is because they tend to think PR people lie. These days, that’s sort of a silly thing for them to talk about, given the variety of scandals involving made-up news by supposed “truth-seeking” reporters.

    Being on the editorial board isn’t PR. The job of the editorial board is to research and deliver opinion pieces which are the voice of the newspaper. Being promoted to the editorial board is prestigious because the person involved has the job to shape public opinion through thought-provoking, thoroughly researched work. It is a promotion from being a reporter, and the people serving on the editorial board are usually the most experienced people within the news organization.

    Reporters are hired to write factual accounts of events. Not to give opinions. Not to whine because they disagree with the editorial board. Not to harrumph that they “find truths.” They are frequently among the least skilled, least experienced, and lowest paid of the staff. Right above the guy that answers the phone. Sometimes, he is the guy that answers the phone.

    sharon (03e82c)

  20. The fact that reporters and editors have negative views of PR people is because they tend to think PR people lie.

    I don’t think they quite literally lie so much as they promote a viewpoint in their interests.

    Being promoted to the editorial board is prestigious because the person involved has the job to shape public opinion through thought-provoking, thoroughly researched work.

    This is a good one to say about the WSJ. Specially in regards to being ‘promoted’ from the thought provoking research that the news side does to whatever it is that the Ed side does.

    They are frequently among the least skilled, least experienced, and lowest paid of the staff. Right above the guy that answers the phone. Sometimes, he is the guy that answers the phone.

    Do you really think that’s the case with the Wall Street Journal’s reporting?

    actus (6234ee)

  21. “I don’t think they quite literally lie so much as they promote a viewpoint in their interests.”

    I said that is the way PR people are perceived by reporters. P.R. people are hired by specific entities to promote that entity, frequently giving the best “spin” on even bad news. This is a far cry from what the editorial board of a news organization. The editorial board endorses some ideas and condemns others, and does so based on its research.

    “This is a good one to say about the WSJ.”

    Yes. It’s a good one to say about most news organizations.

    “Specially in regards to being ‘promoted’ from the thought provoking research that the news side does to whatever it is that the Ed side does.”

    Nice spin, Actus. You sure you weren’t a disgruntled reporter before you decided to go to law school? Or maybe you were the P.R. man.

    “Do you really think that’s the case with the Wall Street Journal’s reporting?”

    I doubt the WSJ doesn’t have the same thing. This is not to say that *all* reporters are inexperienced or low-paid, but I’m sure there are people who fit into that category. And I’m sure there are people who aren’t even called reporters who cover things as well as answer the phones. They may be the people who do the “thought provoking” (sic) research for the reporters who harrumph about the editorial board.

    Is there any particular reason you seem to be so anti-editorial board? Or against the WSJ being called more neutral by the government? Got a particular ax to grind?

    sharon (03e82c)

  22. Nice spin, Actus. You sure you weren’t a disgruntled reporter before you decided to go to law school?

    More like a long time WSJ reader.

    This is not to say that *all* reporters are inexperienced or low-paid, but I’m sure there are people who fit into that category

    You think there are inexperienced reporters at the WSJ? Thats pretty amazing, because they’re an incredibly top notch paper — on the reporting side. I also know some reporters, and they have quite a bit of respect for the member of their pool that got a gig at the WSJ.

    Is there any particular reason you seem to be so anti-editorial board? Or against the WSJ being called more neutral by the government? Got a particular ax to grind?

    I just think the WSJ op-ed board is a bunch of BS, and their news side is excellent. So its interesting to see how that gets reflected internally: By the op-ed board writing stories about their own reporters, without talking to their reporters, but sourcing PR people.

    actus (6234ee)

  23. sharon, if I paraphrased your last two paragraphs of comment 19 as “for your average newspaper, the people on the editorial board are more skilled and more experienced than the reporters,” would that be accurate?

    If so, then it follows that we shouldn’t give as much weight to news reports purporting to be factual accounts as we do to these well-researched opinion pieces, correct?

    About this:

    Reporters are hired to write factual accounts of events. Not to give opinions.

    That’s simply incorrect. By-the-day slovenly, unshaven, low-prestige lowlife reporters who even answer the phones are still the ones normally assigned to write several specific and common kinds of pieces that are chock-a-block with opinion: takeouts and puff pieces. These are two common instances of “articles” that are distinctly NOT placed on an oped page, in fact takeouts are common on the first page of a news section, even A1. Takeouts are frequently considered “hard” news–it’s just that they generally contain nothing actually new.

    One of a takeout’s most effective methods of conveying opinion is in what it omits but inclusion of direct opinion occurs all the time in these. I frequently find these kinds of takeouts infuriating, as they effectively give news-side backing to what should be an oped undertaking.

    Puff pieces in which the writer’s viewpoint is not just allowed but required frequently appear on the first page of a social section, but more and more I am seeing them on A1 in otherwise respectable newspapers. Admittedly they are not hard news, but they still stand in denial of your claim.

    And I am not talking about opinion columnists here, but bona fide red-blooded lowlife reporters who answer the phones for the muckitys in the penthouse suite. The ones who may or may not have gone to J school, but they used to take the obituaries and now they have graduated to covering the shenanigans at city hall.

    Being promoted to the editorial board is prestigious because the person involved has the job to shape public opinion through thought-provoking, thoroughly researched work.

    I would suggest that it is an exceedingly rare editorial board that actually shapes public opinion. The best most can do is mirror or ape it…many never get beyond following public opinion.

    It is a promotion from being a reporter, and the people serving on the editorial board are usually the most experienced people within the news organization.

    Call it jealousy or envy if you like, but most people on the news side see a transition to an oped position as selling out. You have definitely hit on a common cultural aspect of newsrooms, however. And the aspect of being the more experienced is no longer as true as it once was–for proof, look at “promotions” to the oped side of the WSJ itself over the past 10 years or so. Ideology has definitely won out over experience in that boardroom.

    Nevertheless, is it fair for me to say that you are arguing that the editorial people are the ones we should be leaning on for our information? Because it sure sounds that way. What are the implications of that, if so?

    Nash (d66115)

  24. sharon,

    The WSJ does not hire rookie reporters. It simply does not happen. If you work your way up to a stint on the news side at the WSJ, you have arrived.

    And you have repeated this mantra that editorials are well-researched. As a blanket statement, that is, of course, nonsense. Each of the papers we have been discussing in one way or another, specifically WSJ, WaPo, LAT and NYT have in the past few years had instances of being excoriated and ridiculed for publishing editorials that claimed a falsehood as true when their own news side had already published the factual account. It happens to the best of them…getting caught with their not-so-well-researched pants down or ideologies hanging out.

    Eww. Sorry for that metaphor.

    Nash (d66115)

  25. “You think there are inexperienced reporters at the WSJ? Thats pretty amazing, because they’re an incredibly top notch paper — on the reporting side. I also know some reporters, and they have quite a bit of respect for the member of their pool that got a gig at the WSJ.”

    I would be highly surprised if there were not inexperienced reporters there as in virtually all news organizations. And the term “inexperienced” could mean someone straight out of j-school or within a couple of years. It is highly doubtful to me that the WSJ uses seasoned reporters to cover virtually every story, but maybe they use stringers so they can say they don’t hire inexperienced people.

    “I just think the WSJ op-ed board is a bunch of BS, and their news side is excellent. So its interesting to see how that gets reflected internally: By the op-ed board writing stories about their own reporters, without talking to their reporters, but sourcing PR people.”

    I think this is the truest statement you’ve made. Your particular bias is quite obvious, given your misunderstanding of the purpose of an editorial board. And you’ve yet to explain why reporters should be angry that they are considered less biased.

    “sharon, if I paraphrased your last two paragraphs of comment 19 as “for your average newspaper, the people on the editorial board are more skilled and more experienced than the reporters,” would that be accurate?”

    Yes. Most of the time, the persons working on the editorial board are people with longevity at that news organization.

    “If so, then it follows that we shouldn’t give as much weight to news reports purporting to be factual accounts as we do to these well-researched opinion pieces, correct?”

    No, the stories reporters write are supposed to be factual. The editorials the editorial writers write are supposed to be opinion pieces. They serve different functions.

    “That’s simply incorrect. By-the-day slovenly, unshaven, low-prestige lowlife reporters who even answer the phones are still the ones normally assigned to write several specific and common kinds of pieces that are chock-a-block with opinion: takeouts and puff pieces…”

    And your remarks go on from there. Yes, I oversimplified the duties of a reporter and there are, in fact, different types of reporting which are supposed to satisfy different types of audiences. I don’t expect a business story to sound like a sports story to sound like an entertainment story to sound like a news story. But I DO assume that news reporters are supposed to report facts. That they don’t always do this does not mean they are doing “top notch” or “thought-provoking” research. It means they are injecting opinion into their writing, which is better for magazines.

    “I would suggest that it is an exceedingly rare editorial board that actually shapes public opinion. The best most can do is mirror or ape it…many never get beyond following public opinion.”

    This, of course, is your opinion, and, if it were accurate, there would hardly be any reason for a newspaper to have an editorial page.

    “Call it jealousy or envy if you like, but most people on the news side see a transition to an oped position as selling out.”

    Yes, they do. But those working for newspapers consider it selling out to work for TV, as well.

    “You have definitely hit on a common cultural aspect of newsrooms, however. And the aspect of being the more experienced is no longer as true as it once was–for proof, look at “promotions” to the oped side of the WSJ itself over the past 10 years or so. Ideology has definitely won out over experience in that boardroom.”

    I’m not surprised if this is true. I certainly saw some of this when I was working for a newspaper. But, ideally, the editorial board is supposed to consist of the most experienced, etc. people in the newsroom. And I didn’t know anyone who looked at the members of the editorial board with disdain, but, apparently, that is the environment of the WSJ.

    “Nevertheless, is it fair for me to say that you are arguing that the editorial people are the ones we should be leaning on for our information? Because it sure sounds that way. What are the implications of that, if so?”

    I would no more argue that one should rely solely on editorials for information than I would tell anyone to rely on KOS. The whole point of discussing the differences between reporters and editorial writers is because Actus called the WSJ “the PR man.” To this point, he’s yet to show he understands the purposes of PR men, editorial boards, or even reporters. And he’s yet to explain why reporters should take umbrage that they were considered to be more objective than their counterparts at the NYT.

    “The WSJ does not hire rookie reporters. It simply does not happen. If you work your way up to a stint on the news side at the WSJ, you have arrived.”

    So, they never have interns they hire from those internships? No one promoted from assistant to reporter? No one out of j-school whom they hired to cover something in the burbs? That must be quite the budget if they only use highly experienced and well-paid reporters for everything.

    “And you have repeated this mantra that editorials are well-researched. As a blanket statement, that is, of course, nonsense.”

    Why is that? Because you find a few examples where editorials have not? Then it is safe to say that the NYT doesn’t hire experienced reporters (and I’m certain you would argue that they are every bit as prestigious as the WSJ) since they hired Jayson Blair. As for ideologies hanging out, there’s no better ideology hanging out than the NYT’s backing of same sex marriage and gay rights. And that’s not just on the editorial board’s side.

    sharon (03e82c)

  26. It is highly doubtful to me that the WSJ uses seasoned reporters to cover virtually every story, but maybe they use stringers so they can say they don’t hire inexperienced people.

    People end up at the WSJ. They don’t start there. Its one of those things that makes them an excellent paper.

    And you’ve yet to explain why reporters should be angry that they are considered less biased.

    Considered friendly to the point of view of hte PR person. They’re angry because the editorial made it seem like they were handed the story because a PR person thinks they’re friendly, as opposed to because they researched independently it for months. I know some reporters, and asked them about this. They said this would make them angry, that someone would take the word of a PR man over them, and that it get told that the reason they printed a story was because a PR man gave it to them. Thats stenography, not reporting. And good reporters get offended when they’re called stenographers.

    That must be quite the budget if they only use highly experienced and well-paid reporters for everything.

    Thats why they’re a quality paper. They also don’t write about ‘the burbs’

    actus (6234ee)

  27. Actus, are you SURE you’re reading the same story from the NY Observer I did? This is what it said:

    “The initial wound came June 30, when The Journal’s editorial page praised reporter Glenn Simpson’s handling of the news of the Bush administration’s secret program of tracking international bank transfers. The editorial described Mr. Simpson, unlike the perfidious reporters of The New York Times, as having received the story from the Treasury Department, which was willing to “offer him the same declassified information”—because, the editorial conjectured, the administration “felt Mr. Simpson would write a straighter story than the Times.””

    This is saying that the reporters at WSJ take umbrage at the idea that someone thought they would “write a straighter story than the Times.” In other words, the Treasury Dept thought they were MORE OBJECTIVE.

    I’ve seen reporters and editors get bent before because they were accused of bias, but not because they were considered by sources to be more objective. If you want to argue that Simpson had been independently working on the story for months without discussing it with the Treasury Dept., that’s fine, but it isn’t what the article you linked to says. What it says is that the reporters got their knickers in a twist because the editorial board actually thought they’d done a better job of handling the SWIFT situation than the NYT. And I think that is just posturing.

    “People end up at the WSJ. They don’t start there. Its one of those things that makes them an excellent paper.”

    Fine. They aren’t like any other news organization in the U.S., then. Not the NYT. Not the LAT. Not the Chicago Tribune. Amazing!

    sharon (03e82c)

  28. sharon,

    It’s been an interesting discussion and I want to thank you for providing fairly accurate representions of what I’ve said when you have paraphrased me. I hope I have been showing you the same courtesy and have appreciated where you have shown that I’ve misunderstood you.

    I’ve done the point-by-point thing, so I will leave this to a couple of things that still interest me.

    First, if you will credit me with meaningful hyperbole when I said that the WSJ doesn’t ever use rookies, I will be happy to reciprocate your own hyperbole as credible where you described the respective functions of the news and oped sides of the equation. Yes, I pounced on that as an over-simplification. I think in both cases, we used forms of hyperbole that still had something meaningful to impart.

    I do not know to what level the WSJ uses stringers–I am much more aware of the WaPo and NYT practices in this area. My local community’s practice is what you’d expect from a family run enterprise, even if it is a large, uber-wealthy and extremely powerful family. But I imagine the WSJ must use stringers to some degree as well. Still I suggest that most bylined WSJ stories are written by experienced, vetted, proven journalists, and rarely by fresh J-school grads or interns.

    Second, this

    “I would suggest that it is an exceedingly rare editorial board that actually shapes public opinion. The best most can do is mirror or ape it…many never get beyond following public opinion.”

    This, of course, is your opinion, and, if it were accurate, there would hardly be any reason for a newspaper to have an editorial page.

    intrigues me. I agree, of course, that it is my opinion. I’d like to sway people to see that my opinion is the correct one, but that depends on the force of my argument and the skill with which I deliver it. So, I may be doomed. But…I would like to revise and extend my remarks to add that I don’t see anything wrong with a newspaper’s editorial board serving as a sort of lagging, rather than leading, indicator, of the community’s (big or large) consensus on an issue.

    What motivates newspapers to persist with editorials is a fascinating question. I think that if the editorial as currently recognized had not been invented a couple hundred years ago, we probably wouldn’t have invented them now.

    I’ve seen them used in any number of ways, ranging from the altruistic to a perfectly squalid form of narrow, provincial self-interest. Usually, when partisan persuasion is attempted, the underlying motivations appear to me to be much more towards the self-interested side of the scale. And these, for me, are almost always the least effective, no matter the stance I might take. I don’t take my “opinions” from opeds, and I really doubt that you do.

    Thinking more highly of my fellow citizens than I sometimes do, I imagine most of them don’t form their opinions based on what the WSJ or NYT editorial boards tell them to think, nor on what their local papers say. I think political endorsements are greatly overrated for having any effect on a vote. They make wonderful theater, though. There’s that.

    Again, thanks for the interesting discussion.

    Nash (d66115)

  29. someone thought they would “write a straighter story than the Times.” In other words, the Treasury Dept thought they were MORE OBJECTIVE.

    More friendly to treasury’s view. Thats what I read. Thats what the reporter read too. Also, they take umbrage at the fact that they ‘received’ the story from treasury — as if they got totally scooped by the NYT and the LAT. In actuality, they were working on the story for months.

    What it says is that the reporters got their knickers in a twist because the editorial board actually thought they’d done a better job of handling the SWIFT situation than the NYT.

    According to the praise of treasury’s PR people. Its insulting because of that — that an interested party turned to them to get its story out. As opposed to them getting the story on their own reporting.

    actus (6234ee)

  30. This is saying that the reporters at WSJ take umbrage at the idea that someone thought they would “write a straighter story than the Times.” In other words, the Treasury Dept thought they were MORE OBJECTIVE.

    That’s misleading and unfair. We have no evidence that the admin counted on the WSJ news side to be more objective than other publications; rather, we have an obviously self-interested statement supposedly passed through WSJ’s editorial board (and conveniently unsourced as well, so grain meet NaCl) to make it SEEM as if that was the expectation. I do not think the Bush Admin is that naive–in fact, I’m sure they are not so foolish as to believe that.

    I know you are aware that when the subject of embarrassing or potentially damaging info is aware that publication is imminent, it is common to attempt a pre-scoop and the motives are as varied as the stars in the sky. In this case, the most direct motive on the part of the admin seems to be pure and unadulterated anger and desire for revenge as well as a desire to shape the story by having it come from someone that hadn’t had time to come up to speed. Or so they erroneously thought.

    If citizen education had been the goal, we would have had Tony Snow and others release PR statements laying out the facts in a calm fashion, rather than a wistful hope that Mr. Simpson of the WSJ would play it the way they wanted him to play it. As noted, the WSJ version did present a new angle to the story that wasn’t exactly good for the admin and I’m guessing that was because they didn’t understand how much background Simpson had on the story and I’m further guessing they didn’t know that because Gigot didn’t know it.

    No, that is unfair, because all evidence is that Mr. Gigot was ass-covering with that claim.

    Nash (d66115)

  31. “If citizen education had been the goal”??

    I guess that’s gotta rank up there with the, if the phone company really had wanted to deny that they’d cooperated with the NSA, they’d have issued a denial when we gave them a whole 24 hours.

    Or, if Dubya had really served in the TANG, they’d have immediately denied the Burkett memoes when we asked.

    In short, if the gubmint fellers don’t do what I think is reasonable, then my version of the facts stand.

    Lurking Observer (ea88e8)

  32. LO,

    All snark aside, your point would be valid if we hadn’t already been told that the Bush administration GAVE the story to the WSJ, even though as I’ve hinted above, I think they weren’t actually given the story, they were given the headsup that the NYT was running it. But, I’m not sure you are seeing the importance of this.

    No, I’m not saying the Bush admin should have a presser to educate us about a top secret operation. But, Gigot CLAIMs they were given the story (including secret details!) by the Bush Admin to make sure the story got told objectively. That is nonsensical on its face. If you want to control the story, you hold the presser yourself and you give out the details you want to give out and you hold back the details you want to hold back. Absence of presser? Consider it evidence that Gigot is embellishing to CYA.

    I’m trying hard here…am I making that snark-secure? A little help here?

    Nash (d66115)

  33. Nash:

    Your idea works only if:

    1. The presser is filled with friendly press who;
    2. Don’t ask things that might open new cans of worms.

    This idea of holding an open press conference, and let’s just educate folks is belied by the various press conferences where the focus all too often shifts to what the press wants to talk about, rather than what the government is trying to get across.

    Lurking Observer (ea88e8)

  34. Wait. Are you insinuating in effect that actus isn’t rational?
    But, but . . . he’s influenced my “worldview” so deeply.

    Dan Collins (b6ac5d)

  35. “More friendly to treasury’s view. Thats what I read.”

    Exactly. This is what YOU read, not what the Treasury Dept. official SAID. This is not unlike you reading something positive into the leaking of SWIFT by the NYT in the first place. In short, you approve of leaking legal, effective programs run by the govt to thwart terrorists. I don’t. In point of fact, I didn’t find it necessary to read anything into what the Treasury Dept. official said. The editorial says that the Treasury Dept. thought the story would be “straighter.” I am still puzzled why being considered objective by one’s source is a perjorative. I think this has more to do with the bias exhibited by reporters rather than anything being wrong with being considered objective.

    “Thats what the reporter read too.”

    Well, you don’t know that, to begin with. Secondly, if that’s what he “read,” so what? All that shows is that he has a chip on his shoulder, and, perhaps, needs to consult a dictionary a bit more frequently. Or maybe an ethics course so he can discover what “objective” means.

    “Also, they take umbrage at the fact that they ‘received’ the story from treasury — as if they got totally scooped by the NYT and the LAT. In actuality, they were working on the story for months.”

    Again, so what? They take umbrage at the word “received” but cannot find anything positive in the word “straighter”? These are some wordsmiths!

    “According to the praise of treasury’s PR people. Its insulting because of that — that an interested party turned to them to get its story out. As opposed to them getting the story on their own reporting.”

    Seems like the thin-skinned reporters need to grow up a bit. If, as we know, the NYT was determined to run a story that was seen as damaging (on a number of levels), what would YOU do if you wanted some control of the situation? Why, you would probably try to give something to someone you thought was more objective. There’s nothing sinister there. There is something juvenile about getting upset that a source gave you info for a story.

    sharon (fecb65)

  36. Nash,

    I honestly do not believe that the WSJ never uses inexperienced people. You know people there? OK, fine. I certainly believe they don’t use inexperienced people on say, coverage of Congress or the President. But it wouldn’t make sense for them to use a reporter with 10 yrs exp to cover something menial that would actually be good exp for a rookie. And I’m certain that they use stringers, at the very least, in their bureaus, because that’s just how most large news organizations run. It’s far more cost-efficient.

    I do agree with most of your characterization of editorials. I have no clue how much influence they tend to have and some of them are perfectly dreadful. It’s probably very archaic reasoning.

    I don’t think it’s misleading to say that the administration thought WSJ would be more objective. The term used was “straighter,” and I think objective is a fair translation of that term.

    sharon (fecb65)

  37. Well, you don’t know that, to begin with

    He’s upset because that’s what he read. Because he doesn’t like to be known as the guy that will echo the treasury line.

    Seems like the thin-skinned reporters need to grow up a bit

    Well, they’ll just keep reporting facts and the op-ed’ers will keep opining in ingnorance of them.

    There’s nothing sinister there.

    Certainly its not sinister. Everyone is doing their jobs.

    actus (6234ee)

  38. “He’s upset because that’s what he read. Because he doesn’t like to be known as the guy that will echo the treasury line.”

    The only person who would come to that conclusion is the paranoid reporter looking for a reason to be upset. Actus, this really is ridiculous and childish. It also says a LOT about the state of journalism that a source thinking a reporter will present a story “straighter” makes the reporter a puppet. This is so distasteful and unprofessional.
    On the part of the reporter. Who is supposedly experienced and highly paid.

    “Well, they’ll just keep reporting facts and the op-ed’ers will keep opining in ingnorance of them.”

    Or they’ll just keep whining and crying that their sources don’t consider them big enough bastards so they get stories in the NY Observer.

    “Certainly its not sinister. Everyone is doing their jobs.”

    Whining, crying, and sneering isn’t a reporter’s job. It’s his avocation.

    sharon (fecb65)

  39. The only person who would come to that conclusion is the paranoid reporter looking for a reason to be upset.

    And I disagree with you — what adds to my evidence is that the story was written only by reference to the PR people, without getting the reporter’s version. Thats whats insulting — the op-ed page is believing a PR guy over hteir own reporter as to how the WSJ got the story.

    It also says a LOT about the state of journalism that a source thinking a reporter will present a story “straighter” makes the reporter a puppet.

    Really? Thats the PR guy doing his job of promoting his PR — notice this wasn’t a comment off the record, this was a comment for publication.

    Whining, crying, and sneering isn’t a reporter’s job. It’s his avocation.

    I happen to think the WSJ does excellent reporting. you, with all your knowledge of the WSJ, think they have “rookies” covering “the burbs.” So I think we have both reached our conclusions about professionalism here.

    actus (6234ee)

  40. “And I disagree with you — what adds to my evidence is that the story was written only by reference to the PR people, without getting the reporter’s version. Thats whats insulting — the op-ed page is believing a PR guy over hteir own reporter as to how the WSJ got the story.”

    The editorial says the Treasury Dept thought WSJ would give the story “straighter.” That’s it. Everything else is arrogance on the part of reporters who believe their own self-importance.

    “Really? Thats the PR guy doing his job of promoting his PR — notice this wasn’t a comment off the record, this was a comment for publication.”

    Why would it not be for publication? He gave his side of things. There’s nothing sinister there. As usual, you’re reading far more into this than there is.

    “I happen to think the WSJ does excellent reporting. you, with all your knowledge of the WSJ, think they have “rookies” covering “the burbs.” So I think we have both reached our conclusions about professionalism here.”

    Yes, we have indeed. I have experience in the field. You don’t. I don’t believe for a minute (without seeing the employment at WSJ for the last 15 yrs) that they never hired anyone out of college or with less than 5 yrs experience or out of internship programs or any of a half dozen other ways that younger reporters are hired. Sorry. It happens at every major newspaper. And, yes, WSJ has “bureaus” which cover “the burbs,” or whatever you want to call all places not in New York City. We have, indeed, reached our conclusions about professionalism.

    Journalists are not highly trained professionals. They have a 4-year degree. No certification program is required to become a journalist. No test to pass. The best that journalists can bring is experience, both in the newsroom and outside of it. As evidenced both by the article you linked and your comments, most journalists spend far too much of their time worrying about whether an editorial got “their side” of something or if a source has the audacity to think they are being objective. Maybe if the reporters at WSJ spent as much time worrying about the readers as they do about their own precious reputations, they might have more respect from the people they should worry about: the public.

    sharon (03e82c)

  41. The editorial says the Treasury Dept thought WSJ would give the story “straighter.” That’s it. Everything else is arrogance on the part of reporters who believe their own self-importance.

    Everything else is the view of the people who actually did the reporting, as opposed to PR people paid to make their employer’s point of view the consensus point of view.

    And, yes, WSJ has “bureaus” which cover “the burbs,” or whatever you want to call all places not in New York City.

    They’re not really a metropolitan based paper.

    As evidenced both by the article you linked and your comments, most journalists spend far too much of their time worrying about whether an editorial got “their side” of something or if a source has the audacity to think they are being objective.

    How do you know its far too much? This is one incident.

    actus (6234ee)

  42. “Everything else is the view of the people who actually did the reporting, as opposed to PR people paid to make their employer’s point of view the consensus point of view.”

    Everything else is whining that the reporters look less biased.

    “They’re not really a metropolitan based paper.”

    That’s what bureaus do.

    “How do you know its far too much? This is one incident.”

    Experience.

    sharon (03e82c)

  43. Experience.

    With the WSJ,apparently.

    actus (6234ee)

  44. “With the WSJ,apparently.”

    With journalists.

    sharon (03e82c)

  45. With journalists.

    I understand you have generic experience with the “MSM”. And I also understand how that translates to the WSJ. Very enlightening.

    actus (6234ee)

  46. “I understand you have generic experience with the “MSM”. And I also understand how that translates to the WSJ. Very enlightening.”

    More so than your experience with journalism.

    sharon (03e82c)

  47. More so than your experience with journalism.

    Oh yes. I have been quite enlightened by the experiences you have shared. Thanks much.

    actus (6234ee)

  48. “Oh yes. I have been quite enlightened by the experiences you have shared. Thanks much.”

    Yes, I have been enlightened by yours, as well.

    sharon (03e82c)

  49. Nash,

    Sorry it has taken me so long to reply to you. I wrote a reply Friday night which must have gotten eaten in the spam filter. I waited ystdy to see if it would show up but it didn’t, then got into a pissing match with Actus & never got around to responding. So, I’ll take the time to do so now.

    To start, I can’t credit you with the idea that the WSJ never hires rookies, simply because that would put them in a unique category. As someone who has worked in the field, I’m sure you know how the whole thing works. We know, for a fact, that the NYT, the crown jewel of American journalism, hires inexperienced (or low-experienced) personnel, and given that they do, I just don’t buy that the WSJ NEVER hires anyone this way. Also, there’s this:

    http://www.dowjones.com/Careers/Internships/jour_intern/Jour_Intern.htm

    The major metro daily I worked for had a couple of these internships (one from within and one from the parent company). These are used as recruiting tools by the news organizations because they are great way to find talented new blood. I’m not implying that they hire everyone that comes through this program, but it would make sense that once in a while someone outstanding came through this program and they hired them. Not to cover Congress, but to cover something else, because that’s how you learn the ropes and develop talent from the inside. I never claimed, btw, that the reporter who wrote the SWIFT story was inexperienced. Just wanted to clear that up.

    As for why newspapers still publish editorials, I suspect it is an archaic institution in an archaic institution. I don’t in any way believe that a reader decides who they will vote for based on who gets endorsed. I do think, however, that once in a while something can be persuasive enough in an editorial to make the reader think about an issue differently. Also, I was taught, back in the Stone Age, that the editorial was the place for opinion, not the front page. At the time, I had yet to realize that reporters and editors express their opinions through placement, pictures, and headlines as much as the words used in the copy.

    As for why the Treasury Dept. official gave info to the WSJ and said he/she thought they would give a “straighter” story, I won’t even begin to go into motivation. You could be right. But I tend to try to take what is said by people at face value. My main disgust with the article Actus linked is the whining and crying by supposed professionals (experienced!) because, like junior high girls constantly needing the reassurance of their peers for their self-esteem, they thought they looked like puppets of the administration. From personal observation, I think journalists must be the most self-centered (it’s all about ME), arrogant (well, of course, the public needs ME to tell them this secret program), and petty (why did HIS story get placed on page one and mine didn’t? He ALWAYS gets the best assignments) in modern times, right behind politicians. If there had been a real grievance with the editorial, it would have created less heat and more light to actually complain within the confines of the newspaper, not in public. But then, I suspect that fixing that particular problem wasn’t the point in the first place.

    sharon (fecb65)

  50. My main disgust with the article Actus linked is the whining and crying by supposed professionals (experienced!) because, like junior high girls constantly needing the reassurance of their peers for their self-esteem, they thought they looked like puppets of the administration.

    Its not that they need reassurance. Its that they don’t like their own newspaper speaking against them, without consulting them.

    actus (ebc508)

  51. “Its not that they need reassurance. Its that they don’t like their own newspaper speaking against them, without consulting them.”

    Then they should have kept that within the confines of their newspaper.

    sharon (fecb65)

  52. Then they should have kept that within the confines of their newspaper.

    Thats something sort of unique to the WSJ — that they have a high wall between op-ed and news. But I don’t see why they should keep it inside that the op-ed page is full of BS.

    actus (6234ee)

  53. “Thats something sort of unique to the WSJ — that they have a high wall between op-ed and news. But I don’t see why they should keep it inside that the op-ed page is full of BS.”

    Because it’s professional.

    sharon (fecb65)

  54. Because it’s professional.

    Sounds rather unjournalistic to let a lie go uncorrected.

    actus (6234ee)

  55. “Sounds rather unjournalistic to let a lie go uncorrected.”

    Is it a lie? Or is it a mistake?

    sharon (fecb65)

  56. Is it a lie? Or is it a mistake?

    Well, when they’re finding out what their own reporters do by talking to PR people, you’re reaching the level of reckless disregard for the truth.

    But mistakes should also not go uncorrected.

    actus (6234ee)

  57. You two sound like the bickering old couple I had to endure in the booth next to me at Denny’s last week.

    Now actus, Sharon is right, if you eat the Navy Bean soup, it will probably elicit the painful gas emissions you’re so famous for—therefore, how about if you just order a salad and some toast.

    Cheers !

    Desert Rat (d8da01)

  58. “But mistakes should also not go uncorrected.”

    How is this correcting the problem?

    sharon (fecb65)

  59. How is this correcting the problem?

    Now we know that the WSJ reporters, true to their reputations, were working on the story, and weren’t just handed the story by the PR people at treasury.

    actus (ebc508)

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  62. “you’re reaching the level of reckless disregard for the truth.”

    That’s not a lie. And it isn’t libel.

    “Now we know that the WSJ reporters, true to their reputations, were working on the story, and weren’t just handed the story by the PR people at treasury.”

    But, according to you, you already knew this. So, this temper tantrum added nothing.

    sharon (fecb65)

  63. That’s not a lie. And it isn’t libel.

    Actually, reckless disregard for the truth can be libel.

    But, according to you, you already knew this

    I knew what their reputations were. But the op-ed page said something different.

    So, this temper tantrum added nothing.

    Well, it seems to have added the cool reason of fact to the wishful thinking of hte op-ed page. How tantrum-like.

    actus (ebc508)

  64. “Actually, reckless disregard for the truth can be libel.”

    Yes. Go read NY Times v. Sullivan. This isn’t libel.

    “I knew what their reputations were. But the op-ed page said something different.”

    Did the Treasury Dept. give the WSJ info on SWIFT?

    “Well, it seems to have added the cool reason of fact to the wishful thinking of hte op-ed page. How tantrum-like.”

    No, it didn’t. The article you linked had WSJ staffers complaining because the op-ed complimented their handling of the SWIFT story.

    sharon (fecb65)

  65. Actually, reckless disregard for the truth can be libel.

    But not by definition.

    I knew what their reputations were.

    By whose perception was this reputation known?

    r.s. (0f22a5)

  66. No, it speaks for the newspaper, the reporters’ employer.

    Like a PR man.

    Why would you compare the WSJ to a public relations man?

    r.s. (0f22a5)

  67. But not by definition.

    By whatever it is that we find people to have committed libel when they have shown a reckless disregard for the truth. Be it definition or whatever else you want.

    By whose perception was this reputation known?

    What do you mean? My view of them has come from reading them and discussing their work with other people. We all think they are phenomenal an true to the adage: The business press explains.

    actus (ebc508)

  68. Why would you compare the WSJ to a public relations man?

    The op-ed page.

    actus (ebc508)

  69. Yes. Go read NY Times v. Sullivan. This isn’t libel.

    Its not that defamatory — and is easily remedied by us finding out the truth. But it is a reckless disregard for the truth, which can be libel in a situation that doesn’t involve public figues, and regardless is culpable and damnable.

    The article you linked had WSJ staffers complaining because the op-ed complimented their handling of the SWIFT story.

    Yes. They complained about what was wrong and added the truth. If you think they’re wrong to expect their editors to stand by them, rather than treasury’s PR line, then fine. But to me that seems like a worthwhile complaint.

    actus (ebc508)

  70. “But it is a reckless disregard for the truth, which can be libel in a situation that doesn’t involve public figues, and regardless is culpable and damnable.”

    But this is neither.

    “Yes. They complained about what was wrong and added the truth.”

    Not in a forum which would make a difference.

    “If you think they’re wrong to expect their editors to stand by them, rather than treasury’s PR line, then fine. But to me that seems like a worthwhile complaint.”

    I think they are wrong to whine in public about something that should be taken care of within their business. That’s professionalism.

    R.S., Actus thinks “PR man” is a perjorative term. We’ll see what he thinks of it when he’s a practicing PR man himself.

    sharon (fecb65)

  71. Not in a forum which would make a difference.

    Sure, it would have been preferable if the truth got the same billing and the erroneous mistake, but instead of waiting for the op-ed page to print it, they went ahead and talked to someone else.

    I think they are wrong to whine in public about something that should be taken care of within their business. That’s professionalism.

    But not at the WSJ. One of the things about them is that they don’t do these things internally — they have a high wall separating the news and editorial. That and now we all know the truth instead of waiting for the ideologes at the op-ed page to print it.

    R.S., Actus thinks “PR man” is a perjorative term. We’ll see what he thinks of it when he’s a practicing PR man himself.

    I think its a term for someone who is paid to promote a point of view. As opposed to a reporter.

    actus (ebc508)

  72. I think its a term for someone who is paid to promote a point of view. As opposed to a reporter.

    Are you saying reporters are paid to oppose a point of view?

    r.s. (0f22a5)

  73. Are you saying reporters are paid to oppose a point of view?

    I don’t think they’re paid to promote a point of view.

    actus (ebc508)

  74. Not even the truth?

    r.s. (0f22a5)

  75. Not even the truth?

    I think thats more than a ‘point of view.’

    actus (ebc508)

  76. Fact=Fiction?

    r.s. (0f22a5)

  77. Fact=Fiction?

    For the op-ed page, it seems so.

    actus (ebc508)

  78. Fiction=Fact?

    r.s. (0f22a5)

  79. “Sure, it would have been preferable if the truth got the same billing and the erroneous mistake, but instead of waiting for the op-ed page to print it, they went ahead and talked to someone else.”

    Yes. They talked to someone who couldn’t fix the problem, which casts a shadow over WSJ as a whole.

    “But not at the WSJ. One of the things about them is that they don’t do these things internally — they have a high wall separating the news and editorial. That and now we all know the truth instead of waiting for the ideologes at the op-ed page to print it.”

    I keep forgetting what a “special” place WSJ is. Why, it sounds like 2 entirely different newspapers. Except it isn’t.

    “I think its a term for someone who is paid to promote a point of view. As opposed to a reporter.”

    Like an attorney.

    sharon (fecb65)

  80. They talked to someone who couldn’t fix the problem, which casts a shadow over WSJ as a whole.

    What do you mean they can’t fix the problem? The problem was people didn’t know what the truth was. Now we do.

    Why, it sounds like 2 entirely different newspapers. Except it isn’t.

    The point i’ve been makin is its unique in that it kind of is.

    Like an attorney.

    Almost — attorneys will face monetary liability and a loss of their license for doing things against their client’s interest. PR people? they get fired.

    actus (6234ee)

  81. “What do you mean they can’t fix the problem? The problem was people didn’t know what the truth was. Now we do.”

    But you knew that anyway, didn’t you? Nothing in the story printed said any of that.

    “The point i’ve been makin is its unique in that it kind of is.”

    Umm, if it is one newspaper, it isn’t.

    “Almost — attorneys will face monetary liability and a loss of their license for doing things against their client’s interest. PR people? they get fired.”

    Sounds like a monetary liability. And attorneys are paid to represent their clients’ interests.

    sharon (fecb65)

  82. But you knew that anyway, didn’t you?

    I didn’t know that the reporters hadn’t been working on the story. I also didn’t know that what the op-ed page said was based on treasury PR, rather than their own reporters.

    Umm, if it is one newspaper, it isn’t.

    With an editorial page that is kept very separate from a news side.

    Sounds like a monetary liability.

    What I mean is you’re liable for the damage you caused. Besides losing your job.

    And attorneys are paid to represent their clients’ interests.

    And if they don’t, not only do they lose this client, but they might lose their license as well as have to pay damages. So PR people are almost like attorneys, but not quite.

    actus (6234ee)

  83. “I didn’t know that the reporters hadn’t been working on the story. I also didn’t know that what the op-ed page said was based on treasury PR, rather than their own reporters.”

    But, if as you claim, that was a “lie,” you wouldn’t want to know it anyway, would you? I thought you read WSJ.

    “With an editorial page that is kept very separate from a news side.”

    In a single newspaper.

    “What I mean is you’re liable for the damage you caused. Besides losing your job.”

    That’s why you lose your job.

    “And if they don’t, not only do they lose this client, but they might lose their license as well as have to pay damages. So PR people are almost like attorneys, but not quite.”

    Yes. They are paid to represent their clients’ interests. Just like PR people.

    sharon (fecb65)

  84. But, if as you claim, that was a “lie,” you wouldn’t want to know it anyway, would you?

    Of course I would. I’d like to know when the op-ed page is wrong.

    That’s why you lose your job.

    But you don’t pay damages. You just cease working.

    In a single newspaper.

    That’s why I said “kind of.”

    They are paid to represent their clients’ interests. Just like PR people.

    More than PR people, actually. They’re liable for the damages they cause when their interests dont align with clients. Liable in that they have to pay damages beyond losing the client. Do you understand how this is more than losing a job?

    actus (6234ee)

  85. “That’s why I said “kind of.””

    Actually, you said “kind of” so that you don’t have to admit that it’s one newspaper. Get a grip.

    “More than PR people, actually.”

    Just like PR people. Your job will be to represent your clients’ interests. Better accept it.

    sharon (fecb65)

  86. Actually, you said “kind of” so that you don’t have to admit that it’s one newspaper.

    What do you mean ‘admit’? Its one paper that’s known for having a rather unique separation between news and op-ed. I’ve been saying this for a while. The link I originally gave mentions that too. Its kind of like they’re two different entities. Thats it. Thats not my admission. Thats my point.

    Just like PR people. Your job will be to represent your clients’ interests. Better accept it.

    Believe me I do. I have to accept it more than PR people in fact — because I can liable if my interests diverge from my client, or my clients’ interests diverge. Unlike the PR industry — they might get fired by one client if they start too early to work for another one. I can be held liable for damages and can lose my license.

    actus (6234ee)

  87. “Thats it. Thats not my admission. Thats my point.”

    Yes, and it’s hilarious watching you jump through this hoop over and over again. The point is not that they have a “wall of separation.” At some point, they are one organization. That’s the part you just won’t give up on. But, hey, tell me again how “unique” they are because they have a “wall of separation.” I don’t mind beating this into your head some more.

    “Believe me I do. I have to accept it more than PR people in fact”

    Oh, good. Then you’ll quit trying to distinguish yourself from the Treasury guy you heaped contempt on in the first place.

    sharon (fecb65)

  88. Its one paper that’s known for having a rather unique separation between news and op-ed.

    This is not unique.

    r.s. (0f22a5)

  89. The point is not that they have a “wall of separation.” At some point, they are one organization.

    Ya. But there’s such a high wall that its kind of like they’re two papers. So? Its not something to be beaten. Its a neat and unique feature of the WSJ. Of course its one papers. They’re also both part of DowJones inc — which owns Barrons. Another paper. So its kind of like there’s 1 organization at the top, with two separate ones at the botton.

    Then you’ll quit trying to distinguish yourself from the Treasury guy you heaped contempt on in the first place.

    Oh. Ill clearly distinguish. My profession is different and distinguishable — as I told you: The restrictions on going against your client interest or having multiple client interests carry more serious consequences.

    actus (6234ee)

  90. “Ya. But there’s such a high wall that its kind of like they’re two papers. So? Its not something to be beaten. Its a neat and unique feature of the WSJ. Of course its one papers. They’re also both part of DowJones inc — which owns Barrons. Another paper. So its kind of like there’s 1 organization at the top, with two separate ones at the botton.”

    It’s so refreshing that you have so much experience in journalism. I mean Knight-Ridder owns lots of news organizations. I doubt they would tell you it’s the same thing as a newsroom and an editorial board in one newspaper. But, hey, you want to believe this, go for it.

    “Oh. Ill clearly distinguish.”

    Of course you will. It will help you sleep better at night knowing that you’re soooo much better than a PR guy…which is what you are.

    sharon (03e82c)

  91. I doubt they would tell you it’s the same thing as a newsroom and an editorial board in one newspaper.

    Why would they? Its not.

    It will help you sleep better at night knowing that you’re soooo much better than a PR guy…which is what you are.

    Better? Youre the one who thinks i’m saying they’re bad people for being in charge of advancing their bosses point of view.

    actus (ebc508)

  92. “Why would they? Its not.”

    Oh, good. Then you retract the idiocy about Dow Jones owning WSJ and it being the same thing.

    “Better? Youre the one who thinks i’m saying they’re bad people for being in charge of advancing their bosses point of view.”

    That’s simplistic, but you did talk about WSJ editorial board “lying” and calling them “PR man,” which, one may assume, was not a compliment. I merely pointed out that attorneys do the same thing as you said about them.

    sharon (03e82c)


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