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Monday, December 12, 2005

Digby says 

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I've never quarrelled with Matt Cooper taking his promise to keep Karl Rove's name confidential all the way to the Supreme Court. (I wondered about Judith Miller being entitled to the reporter's privilege when it was clear that she had not written a story and had not been assigned one, however.) I understand that reporters need to keep their sources identities secret at times. What I don't understand is the practice of going back to powerful sources who lie to you again and again and granting them anonymity so that they can spread scurrilous stories without having to take responsibility for them. I don't understand why it's ok for a reporter to spill the name of a colleague's confidential source over drinks at Cafe Deluxe or why the public should accept that a newsroom and friends and cocktail party guests should know the names of these confidential sources, but the people (even "the people" as represented by the government) should not. I don't know why a reporter can keep important information on ice for months and years because they want to break the news in a book long after it has any relevance. It seems to me that the Beltway press corps wants it both ways. They don't want to be forced to tell the law or the public who their confidential sources are but they reserve for themselves the pleasure of blabbing it to their friends, other sources and each other.

The DC press corps has no idea how they look to the rest of the country after more than a decade of running with GOP trumped up scandals, pimping for impeachment, trivializing the effects of an unorthodox presidential election in 2000, and then saluting smartly and following Dick Cheney over the cliff on Iraq. We liberals never thought of the press as particularly partisan. We thought of it as competent or incompetent. But for a lot of reasons, for the last 15 years the DC press corps have far too often aligned themselves with a manipulative GOP political establishment to the point where it's been hard to see where one ends and the other begins. It's not a matter of political preference. It's insiderism. And when you become an insider in a corrupt system, for money, access, fame, fun whatever ... you become corrupt yourself.

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