What Is The One Thing You Will Never Get From A Reporter?
“Off the Record. Deep Background. Not for Attribution.” These phrases usually will protect a source. But always?
The recent indictment of Scooter Libby reminded Your Business Blogger that there is one thing you will never get from a reporter.
The reason anyone would talk with the press is to advance an agenda. The source will tell his story; the reporter will write his story and seldom will they be same.
Most of the time, it is in the interest of the reporter to protect a source.
But don’t bet on it. If you have anything — anything that would make a story, you will be compromised.
The most dangerous spot to be is between a reporter and a Pulitzer.
For example, would you sell out the American soldier for a Pulitzer Prize? No? Ben Bradlee would.
My friend Gary Bauer tells this story:
A number of years ago at the National Press Club I had the opportunity to ask Ben Bradlee, then executive editor of The Washington Post, what he would have done if he found out ahead of time about the D-Day invasion to liberate Europe.
Would the Post have printed the story?
Bradlee’s answer took a while, but the bottom line was . . .
Now most of what we communicate will not rise above compromising anyone. But take no chances, because the reporter will take no prisoners.
Of course not all reporters are monsters. Some of my best friends are journalists.
But remember reporter Ben Bradlee. Would he compromise his country?
Yes. For a story.
If a reporter cannot be loyal to his country, he will not be loyal to you.
Was this helpful? Do comment.
Thank you (foot)notes:
Outside the Beltway has Traffic Jam.
Guide to Midwestern Culture suggests Libby is more like Clinton than Bush.