TWO QUERIES….Question for the masses. Jason Zengerle of The New Republic is getting skinned alive in the liberal blogosphere for refusing to burn the source who gave him a fabricated email allegedly from Steve Gilliard. Now, in principle, I agree that sources who provide bad info deserve to be outed, but in practice it never seems to happen. Thus my question: has this ever happened before? Can anyone think of a case in big-time journalism in which a dirty source has been exposed?
Second question: In the LA Times today, editor Dean Baquet defended his newspaper’s decision to expose the government’s secret program to track global financial transactions. He says, “The decision to publish this article was not one we took lightly,” and follows up by explaining that sometimes they decide not to publish important stories: “We sometimes withhold information when we believe that reporting it would threaten a life.”
Again, can anyone think of a serious case in the past few decades of a newspaper withholding an entire story like this simply because the government asked them to? Not just a single fact in a story, but an entire story about a secret program of some kind.
UPDATE: On Query #1, the answers so far that fit the criteria are (a) the NYT sitting on the NSA story for a year and (b) the NYT sitting on a story about our ability to listen in on Russian trunk lines in the early 80s. In both cases, however, the Times published the stories a year later.
On Query #2, the only example so far is this column by Jon Alter, where he says he burned Oliver North in 1987 after hearing him testify before Congress about something he himself had leaked.