The New York Times' Jeremy Peters has a blistering report on how the majority of quotes you're reading from politicians and their teams are increasingly asking for final-editing power and even more troublesome: more often than not, news outlets oblige. This is the way the game works now: "After the interviews, they [journalists] review their notes, check their tape recorders and send in the juiciest sound bites for review. The verdict from the campaign — an operation that prides itself on staying consistently on script — is often no, Barack Obama does not approve this message." Peter also notes that Romney's advisers "almost always" require reporters ask them for permission for anything printed in an article.
"It was difficult to find a news outlet that had not agreed to quote approval, albeit reluctantly. Organizations like Bloomberg, The Washington Post, Vanity Fair, Reuters and The New York Times have all consented to interviews under such terms," writes Peters, highlighting this sad state of journalism--sad if you, like us, were taught that journalism was meant and created to keep officials honest, not the other way around. And it wasn't lost on us that Peters's own organization admits that they're part of the problem. "We don’t like the practice," said Dean Baquet, managing editor for news at The New York Times. "We encourage our reporters to push back. Unfortunately this practice is becoming increasingly common, and maybe we have to push back harder."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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