Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Yes an no: Time Inc. editor in chief Norman Pearlstine has it half-right and half-wrong.
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. [emphasis added]
"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. [emphasis added]
A whistleblower is someone who alerts authorities or the public wrongdoing. In this case, Karl Rove was the whistleblower. The Senate Intelligence Committee report revealed that the wrongdoer was Joseph Wilson. He lied about his wife getting him the job. He lied about what he found in Niger. He lied to the media. He lied to the public.
Rove was trying to keep Cooper from falling into the trap that The New York Times and others fell into by relying on Wilson's word -- something that didn't turn out to be worth the paper it was printed on.