Now, there are journalists that get carried away with the excitement of an
off-the-record conversation. Subjects can lie just as easily off the
record as on it. But it's absurd to say that the only worthwhile
conversations between journalists and the powerful are on the record. Off
the record conversations allow politicians to say things that they cannot say
publicly because the Fed Chairman or the Secretary of State or the Schools
Chancellor cannot be seen to say certain things as they are trying to affect
outcomes--they are, as the economists like to say, endogenous to the
system. Restricting their ability to explain things off the record would
restrict the supply of information available, not expand it.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Megan McArdle chimes in with the news that David G. Bradley's practice of selling corporations, journalists and government officials access to each other is perfectly okay because she's been to the meetings and she says so. She grinds her utter lack of professionalism or ethics in her audience's faces by titling the post "Information Wants To Be Free." She has some sort of argument, but this is the same person who didn't see any conflict of interest in having a boyfriend who was a once and future employee of right-wing astroturf organizations and defending the same organizations, because she said so. She also defends off-the-record conversations, because releasing information might interfere with the interview subject's plans. Here's the relevant part, because I am really hoping I misinterpreted the passage.