Much of the moaning about the corrosive effects of 24/7 news and the banal political culture it creates can come off as so much Chicken Littleism. Still, it’s hard to read this story about reporters sending quotes from interviews to the presidential campaigns for pre-publication approval and not think there’s something terribly wrong with our national media:
Quote approval is standard practice for the Obama campaign, used by many top strategists and almost all midlevel aides in Chicago and at the White House — almost anyone other than spokesmen who are paid to be quoted. (And sometimes it applies even to them.) It is also commonplace throughout Washington and on the campaign trail. The Romney campaign insists that journalists interviewing any of Mitt Romney’s five sons agree to use only quotations that are approved by the press office. And Romney advisers almost always require that reporters ask them for the green light on anything from a conversation that they would like to include in an article.
Obama campaign manager Jim Messina is even shown in the story editing quotes line by line to drop curse words.
The article tags reporters from, among other outlets, Bloomberg, the Washington Post, and the New York Times as participating in the practice. But hey, it’s all worth it if the reporters can keep getting whatever scrap scoops the campaigns throw at them—-after edits, of course.