Semi-Daily Journal Archive

The Blogspot archive of the weblog of J. Bradford DeLong, Professor of Economics and Chair of the PEIS major at U.C. Berkeley, a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury.

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Washington Post Will Lie to You (Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps)

Can we have a warning label saying, "The *Washington Post* will lie to you with no hesitation" included with every copy?

What Jonathan Weisman wrote:

History of Foley Messages' Release Clarified by Players - washingtonpost.com: [T]here are indications that Democrats spent months circulating five less insidious Foley e-mails to news organizations before they were finally published by ABC News late last month, which prompted the leaking of the more salacious instant messages. Harper's Magazine said yesterday that it obtained the five e-mails from a Democratic Party operative, albeit in May, long before the election season...

What Harper's wrote:

Republicans Want to Turn Over a New Page (Harpers.org): Harper's was offered the story almost five months ago and decided, after much debate, not to run it here on Washington Babylon.

In May, a source put me in touch with a Democratic operative who provided me with the now-infamous emails that Foley had sent in 2004 to a sixteen-year-old page. He also provided several emails that the page sent to the office of Congressman Rodney Alexander....

It was a Democrat who brought me the emails, but comments he made and common sense strongly suggest they were originally leaked by a Republican office. And while it's entirely possible that Democratic officials became aware of the accusations against Foley, the source was not working in concert with the national Democratic Party. This person was genuinely disgusted by Foley's behavior, amazed that other publications had declined to publish stories about the emails, and concerned that Foley might still be seeking contact with pages...

Can you get from the Harper's story to Weisman's characterization without knowingly misleading your readers? No.

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