In Which the Ultimate Alpha Gets His Scoop Stolen
I’m trying to decide which is more hilarious: that the National Counterterrorism Center tipped off the Associated Press, or that the Greenwaldians flew into a rage about it: Spy Agency Stole Scoop From Media Outlet and Handed It to the AP.
WASHINGTON — The Associated Press dropped a significant scoop on Tuesday afternoon, reporting that in the last several years the U.S. government’s terrorism watch list has doubled.
A few minutes after the AP story, then consisting of three paragraphs, was posted at 12:32 p.m., The Intercept published a much more comprehensive article.
The government, it turned out, had “spoiled the scoop,” an informally forbidden practice in the world of journalism. To spoil a scoop, the subject of a story, when asked for comment, tips off a different, typically friendlier outlet in the hopes of diminishing the attention the first outlet would have received. Tuesday’s AP story was much friendlier to the government’s position, explaining the surge of individuals added to the watch list as an ongoing response to a foiled terror plot.
The practice of spoiling a scoop is frowned upon because it destroys trust between the journalist and the subject. In the future, the journalist is much less willing to share the contents of his or her reporting with that subject, which means the subject is given less time, or no time at all, to respond with concerns about the reporting.
Come on, now; is that some kind of joke? “Trust” between the US government and… Glenn Greenwald? Seriously? How can you destroy something that doesn’t exist?
Meanwhile, The Intercept’s editor John Cook is now threatening to give the agency only 30 minutes to respond.
Cook told the official that in the future the agency would have only 30 minutes to respond to questions before publication.
And Glenn Greenwald, who’s been raging about having his scoop stolen all afternoon on Twitter, cuts that time to just 15 minutes:
@onekade Give them 15 minutes before publication to comment from now on, or stop asking them for comment altogether.
Greenwald has been promising that The Intercept is going to break all the established rules of journalism — apparently, unless they benefit him.