The Trouble With Sitting On The Story

Even when journalists have good reasons to hold back, the cost is public trust

Tell people you write for a big media organization, and one of the first things they do is ask you for the news. No, not the news you published in your rag last week--the real news. The stuff you can't tell everyone. When's the war going to start? Who's gay in Hollywood? What kind of deal did Bush cut to get into the White House?

The implication that the media shelter the public from some news--or shelter that news from the public--is frustrating to journalists, in part because it's true. Reporting is full of noble and not-so-noble compromises. You keep...

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