Oooh, I love this stuff.
My brother, Andy, took the view that the virtual coup d’etat inside the West Wing — unelected staff essentially running the place to “protect” the country from the President — is major news, and that the Times can’t be faulted for going with it. It’s a good argument. Bob Deans, though, who covered both the Clinton and W White Houses as a correspondent for Cox News Service (flagship paper: The Atlanta Constitution) had a good riposte, to wit:
Andy’s right. But what the Times should have said to the guy was, “be an unnamed source in a news story. Give us the names of others engaged in this exercise and let us verify with them that this is really going on.”
The story would have come out, verified by Times reporters instead of us readers being forced to take this one guy’s word for it, and the Times wouldn’t have compromised the integrity of its op-ed page. In fact, it would have broken a major story on the strength of its reporting. I think Bob is right, too.