"This episode is part and parcel of the debasement of the confidential source’s role in American journalism. ..
Many in the press are talking as though the Cooper-Miller mess destroys their ability to recruit and exploit confidential sources, but plainly they’re not talking about confidential sources the way we think about them in the investigative journalism biz. Investigative reporters strive never to hang a story directly on quotes or commentary from confidential sources; they use the sources to guide them to privileged material such as documents, in black and white. That protects the story, and in all but the rare case, it protects the source, too.
Washington confidentiality in the modern era is all about maintaining access, even if that access yields scarcely anything worth publishing. If you have a confidential chat with Karl Rove, and he leads you down the garden path, do you end up with anything worthwhile other than DC cocktail party chatter about your last conversation with Karl Rove? And should we be appalled and surprised that Rove used the occasion to mislead? To paraphrase George Orwell, you can’t blame Rove for taking such an opportunity to further his own interests, any more than you can blame a skunk for stinking." 1:10:45 AM