U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is expected to meet this week with the Washington bureau chiefs of several major media outlets to discuss the Justice Department’s guidelines for dealing with journalists in leak investigations.
It’s not yet certain exactly when the meeting (or meetings) will take place, but a Justice Department official confirmed to The Huffington Post that it would be sometime over the next two days. Politico’s Mike Allen reported Wednesday morning that the DOJ began contacting bureau chiefs on Tuesday. The Huffington Post’s Washington bureau chief, Ryan Grim, also has been contacted.
The news of a meeting between Holder and the bureau chiefs comes amid widespread criticism from journalists and civil liberties advocates over the DOJ’s seizure of Associated Press phone records and an accusation that Fox News reporter James Rosen could be part of a criminal conspiracy for his reporting.
The fact that Holder is meeting with the bureau chiefs is on the record, but Nanda Chitre, acting director of the DOJ’s public affairs office, confirmed to The Huffington Post that the meeting itself will be off the record. Media organizations, however, will surely want such a newsworthy meeting with the attorney general to be on the record, and it remains to be seen if they will agree to meet under off-the-record ground rules.
UPDATE: 5:15 p.m. — New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson said in a statement to The Huffington Post that her paper will not attend the Holder meeting, citing the off-the-record ground rules.
Which leads us to this:
POTUS asked AG to review how leak investigations are done but some in the media refuse to meet with him. Kind of forfeits your right gripe.
— Brad Woodhouse (@woodhouseb) May 29, 2013
If you agree to meet “off-the-record” with a government official who isn’t a whistleblower, you aren’t a journalist, you are a media whore.
My apologies to any real whores who take offense to this post.