Sunday, February 11, 2007

Reporters as conduits of news

Further to the Russert testimony in the Libby trial, David Broder, on Meet the Press on 11 Feb 07, stated that there is a distinction between a reporter cultivating a source and a source using a reporter as a conduit.

A blog at thenation had mentioned the issue of a news conduit:

Explaining why he chose to pass information from the top-secret National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq's WMD to Miller, Libby told the grand jury that he considered Miller (whose prewar reporting on Iraq WMDs was exaggerated) "a serious reporter who cares about the substance of the issues." And Libby testified that before he leaked the NIE excerpts to Miller on July 8, 2003, he told Cheney that he had picked Miller to be the recipient of this leak. Presumably, Cheney considered her a suitable conduit, for he did not stop his aide. (Cheney had arranged for President Bush to declassify parts of the NIE so Libby could selectively leak it to a reporter as part of the administration's effort to beat back the mounting criticism that the White House had hyped the prewar case for war.)

IPBiz notes that the news conduit issue is not limited to heady issues like weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The 28 July 06 article by Kintisch in Science was most likely a leak to help promote the USPTO position on continuing applications. Although the 28 July article purported to be "news of the week," the proposal to limit continuing applications had been published in Jan. 2006, six months prior to the "news of the week." The Chiron case discussed within the 28 July article had been decided years before, and, as noted in 88 JPTOS 743, directed contradicted the point of the Kintisch article. Meanwhile, six months AFTER the 28 July article, the proposal on continuing applications lies dormant.


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