Rich Galen

In his reporting on Obama's non-apology for the racial slur, the AP's Mike Glover wrote that "Obama's campaign sent the memo to reporters, demanding that it not be attributed to their campaign," which struck me as passing strange.

When did the rules change such that a campaign could "demand" a shot fired across the bow of an opponent be not-for-attribution?

Unlike that character in Redding, I called and/or e-mailed four reporters and two campaigns to find out what was what.

Turns out that there are informal blanket agreements for what are known as "quotes and votes" e-mails that reporters can use as a jumping off point for a story. The reporters said they would never use the material without checking the citations for themselves, but they all work for major news organizations.

I am not all certain that a reporter for a newspaper like - let's just pick one at random out of the hat here - Oh! What a coincidence! The "Redding Record Searchlight" would be as persnickety about making certain the citation was (a) true and/or (b) in context before running with it - at least on the editorial page editor's blog.

Under the heading: "Be careful where you send your not-for-attribution stuff," according to the NY Times:

The Obama campaign was forced to acknowledge authorship when the Clinton campaign got a copy and shared it with The New York Times.

It seems to me that a reader has the right to know that Campaign A, is sending Reporter B, information seeking to do damage to Campaign C which then appears in print (or, in the case of the "Redding Record Searchlight" …).

In that way a reader can decide how much, if any, weight should be placed on the information and can also draw some conclusions as to why Campaign A might have chosen that specific material to send about Campaign C at that particular moment.

The rules appear to be changing, and not for the better.

I still want my hundred bucks.



Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at Mullings.com.