August 16, 2005
Pearlstine on Rove
NEW YORK (AP) - An anonymous tip that nearly landed Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper in jail probably was not valuable enough to justify a promise of confidentiality, his editor said Tuesday.
Norman Pearlstine, editor in chief of Time Inc., lamented that reporters covering Washington have become too quick to offer total anonymity in exchange for information.
“A 90-second conversation with the president’s spin doctor, who was trying to undermine a whistle-blower, probably didn’t deserve confidential source status,” Pearlstine said during a panel discussion sponsored by Court TV.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing (remember that Pearlstine happily handed over Cooper’s notes to Fitzgerald). As is utopia:
Pearlstine suggested Tuesday that such problems might be avoided if reporters were more selective with promises of confidentiality. But he said getting journalists to go along may be difficult.
Not to mention sources, who—if what they have to say has any value—are usually the ones pushing for confidentiality.
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