[eDebate] leopold & lauria

Jake Stromboli infracaninophile
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 
the job.

????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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