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January 30, 2007
Why didn't reporters run on Ari Fleisher's scoop?
The Times reports that former Bush press secretary Ari Fleisher spilled the beans to two reporters about CIA agent Valerie Plame. “They didn’t take out their notebooks,” he said. “They didn’t ask any follow-up questions. It was a great big ‘so what.’
One reason? Any reporter looking for a "scoop" would much rather hear it one-on-one--not in the company of another reporter. What's more, you don't want to look too eager when it's the president's press flack doing the divulging. It might signal to colleagues that he's your best (or only) source. (I'm saying this, I should note, with the benefit of zero years as a Washington reporter. But that's the thinking in the other places I've worked.)