Newsmakers Trade Access For Quotation Approval [View all]
In the wake of the new Romney video here is some discouraging news:
Renee Montagne talks to David Carr, the media and culture columnist for The New York Times, about the trend toward journalists agreeing to quotation approval as a condition of access. Carr says he doesn't think the people who are making history should be allowed to rewrite it
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
This past week, we spoke to writer Michael Lewis about his piece in the current issue of Vanity Fair about President Obama. We were not aware at the time that Lewis had agreed to have the White House approve the president's quotes prior to publication, part of the deal that allowed him extraordinary access to the president. The revelation that Lewis had agreed to quote approval to the White House fed into an ongoing media controversy about the practice, once verboten in journalism, but now many politicians and corporate leaders are now requiring quote approval before they'll agree to be interviewed.
David Carr had written about this in his latest column for The New York Times, and he joined us to talk about it.
DAVID CARR: Good morning.
MONTAGNE: Remind people about the old rules, that someone you interviewed didn't have any sway over what you wrote.
CARR: Historically, journalism is built on a transaction, calling a source and you ask them a question, they answer it, you write it down as carefully as you can and should it be useful you stick it in the newspaper or on the radio broadcast and that's the end of that.
Now, frequently - and I don't know if it came from Hollywood or politics first - but the rules of engagement have changed, where people say, yes, I'll speak freely to you, but if you're going to use anything, just run it by me. That sounds so friendly, but it's not.
Most often what ends up being in conflict is not that they misspoke, but that they accidentally spoke the truth and they don't want to get caught out. And so they ask for we just want to round the edges a little bit and before you know it they'd completely changed the meaning of what was said.