Press: On and Off the Record

Reporters wrestle with rules for attribution

Ann Devroy of the Gannett News Service was in Santa Barbara with much of the rest of the White House press corps when word began to circulate that President Reagan had joked about bombing the Soviet Union while testing his microphone for a radio speech. Two TV networks, CBS and Cable News Network, had the quip on tape but felt obliged not to air it because of a longstanding agreement with other broadcasters that Reagan's warmup sessions were off the record. As a print reporter, however, Devroy was under no such constraint. After hunting down...

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