Originally Posted by Scrap Irony
If he didn't record the interview, you can bet your bippy his editor is absolutely reading him the riot act. You wouldn't see that in print because editors keep that stuff behind closed doors.
Should he have recorded his interview? Truthfully, in the two years I spent writing, I never interviewed anyone without having a recorder right by me. Never once did I "forget" to turn it on. That cost me three or four interviews and definitely made people wary, but I was more concerned with getting things right (I tended, without the recorder, to make quotes "fit" grammatically. That made me uneasy.)
I knew some guys (generally older or less inclined to chase after stories) that insisted a recorder cramped their style.
Doesn't mean I was right or wrong. (Also doesn't mean Thamel is right or wrong.)
It does open up possibilities for those inclined to believe in conspiracy theories.
Hmm, and I bet you never had a source later renege on you either. Thamel is now 0-2.
Sounds like you were a hell of a reporter, too bad Pete Thamel doesn't share your integrity.
I bet that if you HAD for some reason done an interview without a tape recorder and later had the source turn around and bite you on the ass, you sure as hell wouldn't conduct ANY future interviews without that tape recorder rolling... not Pete Thamel. I mean, he WAS overseas after all--although he more than likely interviewed the ass't coach for this story a long time ago while he was still in the states--it's not like he could have put the phone on speaker phone and recorded it that way... (I'm sure someone can come up with an excuse for why he couldn't have reasonably been expected to do that, either.
) Bottom line, you do what it takes to get it on tape, ESPECIALLY when you've already had one source claim you misused their words.
Shades of Stephen Glass and Jayson Blair. Anyone who really cares about journalism should be condemning Thamel's tactics, not trying to justify them.
I can tell you what this man would say about not getting your sources cold... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_R._Murrow
Now THAT was a newsman.