The New York Times, The Washington Post, Bloomberg and Reuters have all agreed to let politicians and campaigns approve quotes prior to publication:

The push and pull over what is on the record is one of journalism’s perennial battles. But those negotiations typically took place case by case, free from the red pens of press minders. Now, with a millisecond Twitter news cycle and an unforgiving, gaffe-obsessed media culture, politicians and their advisers are routinely demanding that reporters allow them final editing power over any published quotations.

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. …

Many journalists spoke about the editing only if granted anonymity, an irony that did not escape them. || Related:If reporters agree to this madness, they really have no one to blame but themselves.” (Kevin Drum/Mother Jones) | Bob Schieffer objects to Romney ad that features him (Patrick Reis/Politico)


Jeremy Peters, The New York Times

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  • http://twitter.com/W7VOA Steve Herman

    I am astonished to learn that such esteemed publications as The New York Times engage in this practice. I say, plainly: “stop it!” What is so essential with these interviews that respectable media should commit such questionable ethical lapses?  I’ve been a domestic reporter and foreign correspondent for more than 30 years. I’ve never allowed this sort of quote review of anyone I’ve interviewed and would never consent to these conditions for being granted an interview.

  • Anonymous

    This is so outrageous that I’m nearly speechless.  Something happens to people working around Washington, DC.  Backbones turn to jelly.  Ethics implode.  And perspectives, well, maybe gravity is different there.  Geez.

  • http://www.facebook.com/wm.hirschman Wm F. Hirschman

    Has the world of journalism just gone completely insane? Seriously. When did this become standard practice with any source?  You folks inside the beltway have just slid all the way down the slippery slope, making it all the harder for the rest of us.

    Bill Hirschman

  • Anonymous

    Given this, is it any wonder the public’s respect for the so-called press is in decline?

  • Anonymous

    This reminds me of the high point of Newt Gingrich’s defunct Presidential campaign:  when he said anybody who  quoted him accurately and in full was lying!

  • Anonymous

    Incredibly lame. It shows how, in many ways (refusal to use anonymous sources is another), smaller local papers (like the one I work at) follow higher journalistic standards than those who would like to consider themselves the standard-bearers.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1212575034 Daniel Rubin

    What? A German official told me this was common practice after I interviewed him in 2003. I told him I wouldn’t afford this courtesy to my own president. But since I was working in Berlin, we compromised — I sent my verbatim notes of the phoner, and an aide corrected something I likely misheard. I’ve never done it since, and we should stand together and refuse to do. It’s quote management.

  • Anonymous

    surely this is not true. is it?

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