Breaking what many consider an "unwritten rule" of political journalism, NY Sun blogger Ryan Sager has published an email from a Giuliani staffer, meant to spread what some might consider an anti-Romney story.
The email draws "attention to an article from today's Salt Lake Tribune tying Mr. Romney to a disavowed Mormon prophecy of a "White Horse" that will ride onto the national stage to save the Constitution."
Until now, it was unclear whether this story was being pushed by the McCain campaign, the Giuliani campaign -- or was merely spreading organically. Sager's revelation demonstrates that the Giuliani campaign is pushing the anti-Romney story.
This may be the first time a rival campaign has highlighted Romney's religion, but it is not the first time a political operative's email has been published. Earlier this year, Politico's Jonathan Martin published a less embarrassing email from a Romney operative (in this case, the email was directed to conservative activists -- not any particular blogger).
In general, until a reporter (or blogger) agrees to go "off the record," any communication with them is "on the record." But by the same token, it is tacitly understood that emails from political operatives -- to bloggers -- are meant to be, at least, "on background." However, in both cases cited, the email has been forwarded to bloggers by someone else, thus, creating an even greater ethical dilemma.
What's ethical, here? The nascent medium of the blogosphere is still working out the kinks.