Goldblog doesn't think Lizza is actually defending Mark Leibovich. Neither does Lizza, who writes:

I think the inference [that I support publishing emails from journalists to sources] is absurd and the problem is compounded by the fact that you didn't quote anything in your item to back up your claim, so your readers would have no way of testing the truth of your headline unless they click through and read my entire piece. (Which, let's face it, readers rarely do.)

Even worse, now that I've pressed you on it the best you can do is say that your claim hangs on a quote that any fair observer would see is an objective observation about who is likely to be embarrassed by the emails and not in any way a "defense" (or criticism) of Leibovich. There is no commentary in my article about whether this is good or bad.

Two points: readers do click through to the original links all the time. Secondly my inference of Lizza backing his friend Leibovich comes from this sentence:

From what I know of what Bardella shared, the beat reporters who cover Issa and engaged in this kind of game with Bardella will be the ones most embarrassed by the e-mails that Leibovich possesses.

Maybe I inferred too much. I've asked Ryan what his position on this actually is. I presume from his "absurd" that he opposes such activity. But I can't tell now. I'll let you know his response. Jeffrey takes a step back:

The dirty secret driving this conversation is the near-universal recognition among reporters that, in trying to nab access and interviews, we sometimes tend to paint a rather benign portrait of our intentions in the pitch e-mails we write. (To wit, my e-mail last week to Muammar Qaddafi: "Dear Mo, it's been long time -- too long, in fact! How are you? I would love to come to see you, and no, I don't want to talk about Benghazi, and these al-Qaeda putzes trying to overthrow your glorious and democratically-chosen governnment! Mainly what I want to talk to you about is flowers. All facets of horticulture, actually. And, by the way, I'm on your side! I just read the Green Book again, and man, it is just brilliant! You're like James Madison in a dress! Which would make you Dolley Madison, I guess, but whatever. XXOO, Jeff.") 

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.