TPM Reader JA has


TPM Reader JA has his own theory on L’Affaire Froomkin

A reader in the comments section to Harris’s response points to this clause:

Froomkin’s column “has itself become an obstacle to our work.”

What can that possibly mean, other than the white house is yelling at him for what Froomkin is writing, and they’re not accepting his “Don’t blame me, he doesn’t work for me or the Post” defense?

In that little clause, it’s clear what happened. The Post to some degree had access reduced or cut off, and the reason given was Froomkin. Harris’s defense that the guy didn’t work for him or the Post didn’t suffice to restore access. So now he wants that made clearer—not for any substantive reason, as you say, but to support this argument.

My reaction to this is: 1) Isn’t that newsworthy in itself? The response to a (web-based, buried on the Post’s site, mind you) column the White House doesn’t like is to threaten to cut off access to anonymous sources? They can’t claim any violation of any of their vaunted confidentiality agreements to report this. 2) Don’t they realize, in the least, that access goes both ways? Why isn’t the response to Rove cutting off access, “fine Karl, all conversations henceforth are on the record.” At this point, they don’t need the White House for their stories. They only need the White House for “balance.” They’re perfectly within the source/journalist relationship sphere that they purport to follow to NOT grant anonymous sourcing. If the White House complains, publicly, about an absence of balance, they just can call for comment. And when the White House chooses not to comment on the record, they can report that. This is what happens to EVERYBODY ELSE reporters write negative stories about. The response they permit is “No Comment” not “anonymous sources close to the story say…..”

Certainly there will be more on this.