We get. We get it. The New Hampshire Union Leader’s publisher, Joe McQuaid, is steamed, one of his reporters confided to a Republican campaign operative (a real operative, not a candidate demanding to be called an operative). Well, it’s not pleasant to be bashed by journalism-ethics gurus like Bob Zelnick and Andy Alexander on his complicity with the Gingrich campaign and then hounded to respond to those indictments. And it can’t be fun to get an earful from the Columbia Journalism Review:
[T] his story raises serious concerns about sourcing practices at the Union Leader. While granting anonymity to sources is justifiable under certain circumstances, providing a candidate the opportunity to rebut criticism from his opponents while posing as one of his own aides does not meet any reasonable journalistic standard for the practice.
So, quite predictably McQuaid lashes out. Not at Newt Gingrich, who asked to be identified as a “senior aide ” in responding to criticisms leveled by former New Hampshire governor John Sununu. Not at R.C. Hammond, the Gingrich spokesman who blabbed to the New York Times, thereby embarrassing his boss and setting the Union Leader up for much grief. No, he churns out another predictable screed about Mitt Romney (he’s “desperate” says Gingrich-backer McQuaid). He angrily accuses Sununu of carrying a grudge against Gingrich. Does he even mention his paper’s own mischief-making? Does he offer an apology? No. He won’t discuss his paper’s conduct, resorting to, of all things, journalistic ethics (they don’t talk about sources) in rebuffing multiple press inquiries.
I think voters can safely disregard McQuaid’s views and his paper’s reporting on the election. They’ve let their own grudges override journalistic judgment and integrity. Frankly, if we want to get Gingrich press releases, we can ask the candidate, or his “senior aide.”