newspaper reporters12 Jul 2005
Just a little tidbit I ran across from a dispatch of Hemingway’s on the Japanese earthquake in 1923 to the Toronto Daily Star that seemed a little timely, given the whole Rove/Plame/Miller/Cooper thing:
“If we talk to you and tell you what you want to know will you promise that you won’t use our names?” asked the daughter.
“Why not just use the names,” suggested the reporter.
“We won’t say a word unless you promise not to use the names,” said the daughter.
“Oh, you know newspaper reporters,” the mother said. “They’ll promise it and then they’ll use them anyway.” It looked as though there wasn’t going to be any story. The remark had made the reporter violently angry. It is the one unmerited insult. There are enough merited ones.
“Mrs. So and So,” he said, “the president of the United States tells reporters things in confidence which if known would cost him his job. Every week in Paris the prime minister of France tells fifteen newspaper reporters facts that if they were quoted again would overthrow the French government. I’m talking about newspaper reporters, not cheap news tipsters.”
“All right,” said the mother. “Yes, I guess it’s true about newspaper reporters.”
Then the daughter began the story and the mother took it up.