[eDebate] leopold & lauria
Mon Jun 19 15:26:52 CDT 2006
why would leopold so easily set himself to destroy his own career? i know.
he's not a republican and all non-republicans are self-destructive...
?Leopold and Lauria
????The Associated Press
????Monday 19 June 2006
????We've talked a bit about the Jason Leopold saga here on Public Eye in
the past, and the Washington Post yesterday printed a somewhat strange piece
that gives us a slightly better idea of how his now-discredited scoop -
claiming Karl Rove would be indicted - came to pass.
????According to journalist Joe Lauria, former Justice Department spokesman
Mark Corallo (who now works for Rove) says someone used Lauria's name and
gave a cell phone number similar to Lauria's in two phone calls to Corallo
that took place just before Leopold's story broke. The phone calls took
place not long after Lauria had met Leopold and given him his phone number.
Lauria, connecting the dots, writes that Leopold's "aggressive disregard for
the rules ended up embroiling me in a bizarre escapade." Leopold denies
using Lauria's name to work sources, but Lauria doesn't buy it, noting that
Leopold, in his memoir, admits lying to get stories.
????I referred to the piece as strange because it seems, for lack of a
better word, somewhat vindictive. Consider this: In the second paragraph,
Lauria calls Leopold "a troubled young reporter with a history of drug
addiction." In the next paragraph, he throws in a clause about Leopold's
"drug abuse and a run-in with the law." The next graf: a reference to
Leopold's "cocaine addiction." And in the following graf, the piece de
r?sistance: "Leopold says he gets the same rush from breaking a news story
that he did from snorting cocaine. To get coke, he lied, cheated and stole.
To get his scoops, he has done much the same."
????We get the point, Joe.
????I understand that Lauria wanted to clear his name, but this seems a tad
over the top. This is not a defense of Leopold, whom we have called on to
name his sources, as he promised to do if his story turned out not to be
true. He clearly seems unconcerned with journalistic ethics, to put it
mildly. But I'm not sure that in a piece that mentions Leopold's drug use
four times Lauria can plausibly claim the high road, though he does anyway
in a conclusion lamenting the "narcissistic culture."
????In any event, Leopold does raise one interesting point:
What value does journalism have if it exposes unethical behavior
unethically? Leopold seems to assume, as does much of the public, that all
journalists practice deception to land a story. But that's not true. I know
dozens of reporters, but Leopold is only the second one I've known (the
first did it privately) to admit to doing something illegal or unethical on
????Is it all right to lie to get a story? My first thought is that it is
not. But what if, thanks to one little lie, you can expose something really
important? Can you lie if it means getting the Watergate story, for example?
One is inclined, in such a case, to wonder if the ends justify the means.
????The problem with this idea is that you're playing with fire. When you've
lied once, in a "justified" situation, it becomes harder to not lie the next
time, regardless of the strength of your justification. And, as Leopold has
learned all too well, if you are willing to lie to your sources, they have
every reason to lie to you.
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