Greenwald tackles Allen:
Note, too, the sequence of events as Allen describes them:
While I was writing the piece, a very well-known former Bush administration official e-mailed some caustic criticism of Obama’s decision to release the memos. I asked the former official to be quoted by name, but this person refused, e-mailing: "Please use only on background."
So these quotes arrived in Allen's email inbox with no agreement that the quotes were off the record. Thus, Allen was free to publish them and identity for his readers what Bush officials were saying about Obama. But -- exact like Tim Russert -- Allen apparently treats his conversations with Bush officials as "presumptively confidential," i.e., like a good and loyal P.R. spokesman, he will only report what he learns if they give him permission to do so -- even in the absence of an explicit off-the-record agreement.
Glenn then gets tough:
Allen's excuse for anonymity was that readers could decide for themselves whether the anonymous Bush criticisms "sounded defensive or vindictive." But he then confesses that he edited out "the most incendiary parts," including "several ad hominems." So, like a good servant-editor, he first helpfully sanitized the Bush official's smears by making them appear more sober and substantive than they actually were -- by removing all the parts that reflected vindictiveness towards Obama -- and then justified the anonymity he granted by saying he wanted readers to see for themselves if the criticisms of Obama's decision were grounded in vindictiveness. He evidently confessed all of that without realizing that his actions completely negate his claimed justification.
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