MORE TRUMP-HATING LOVEBIRDS: ALI WATKINS AND THE RISE OF CASTING-COUCH JOURNALISM. At the American Thinker, Monica Showalter writes:
Now we have Watkins and Wolfe, that latter of whom is charged with leaking classified documents to Watkins, because of, well, that delicious combination of love and Trump-hate. Apparently, he was going to leak no matter what, but in one of his texts to Watkins, he said he wanted her, instead of her competitors, to get the scoops.
The press is focusing on the issue of the FBI seizure of her reporting records, and there are some valid concerns, given that this is a continuation of the pattern established by the Obama administration in seizing the records of reporters just doing the news.
But how the press reports the news is important, too. There is troubling behavior by Watkins, who didn’t bother to tell her New York Times bosses about the FBI seizure of her records in February, which raises questions as to why she didn’t. She didn’t want the utterly powerful First Amendment lawyers of the New York Times to help her against a vindictive big government, so she didn’t tell her bosses? Or was she really more afraid of her bosses finding out how the sausage of her scoops was really made, that she had been literally too close to her sources and was using her “advantages”? It’s odd behavior, because Watkins claims she told her bosses about the affair, and the Times says they knew, too. McClatchy says it didn’t. Meanwhile, Politico claims that it learned of the affair and steered her away from conflict-of-interest topics. Buzzfeed, apparently knew all about it and didn’t have a problem, according to a report in the Daily Caller.
As Andrew Klavan tweets, “Maybe we should remove the bikini competition from journalism.”
Michael Goodwin of the New York Post writes that Watkins “broke the biggest rule in journalism:”
On previous occasions, I’ve written about the blunt way legendary New York Times editor Abe Rosenthal dealt with a conflict of interest. The story bears repeating after the indictment of a top Senate official over his contacts with reporters, including one from the Times with whom he had a romantic relationship.
The Rosenthal standard on conflicts was shaped by a remarkably similar case decades ago. Soon after a woman who had covered politics in Philadelphia was hired by the Times, a story from Philly said she had a secret affair with a politician she covered and accepted expensive gifts from him.
Rosenthal asked the woman if the story was true and, when she replied yes, immediately told her to clean out her desk and said she would never again work for the paper.
Word of the incident spread quickly through the newsroom, and several female reporters complained to Rosenthal. They argued that the woman was treated unfairlyand, at which point, Abe raised his finger for silence and said something to this effect: “I don’t care if you f–k an elephant on your personal time, but then you can’t cover the circus for the paper.”
The meeting was over, case closed.
His point was not about private conduct. It was about the credibility of the paper. When the two conflict, the paper must come first.
Yes, but that was a very different New York Times than its current sophomoric incarnation. As Glenn has written, “One of Trump’s major accomplishments has been to reveal the lack of civic virtue and self-control across our elite institutions.”