Here’s the thing.
When you mention FishbowlDC in an afternoon meeting of reporters, chances are pretty high (we’ll take a stab at 80 percent) that word will boomerang back to us.
When it happens, sometimes it’s in minor passing, boring and unworthy of highlighting. Sometimes it’s more. A shocker? Sources who spoke to us for weeks and months before the meeting are likely to talk to us after, no matter your warning sirens.
Such was the case Tuesday when Daily Caller Publicist Nicole Roeberg reemphasized to staff at the afternoon meeting that they were not to talk to yours truly or FishbowlDC about sensitive matters. (This week we reported that another reporter at the publication had been fired. Roeberg did not respond to a request for comment on the story.)
We requested a comment from Roeberg. She wrote: “I wouldn’t characterize it as an instruction at all, and it certainly wasn’t personal to you or FBDC. I absolutely made the point that the last thing we should want to do here is smear someone on his or her way out the door, particularly when doing so might be harmful to their future. I also said that personally, if I were to get fired, or be diagnosed with some horrible disease, I hate to think that it would end up on the Internet 10 minutes later, a sentiment which I’m sure everyone reading this right now would share if the tables were turned, including you. We routinely remind reporters that we would like to see sensitive information kept within the office walls, but no one has been barred from speaking to anyone.”
Editor’s note: Roeberg has not been diagnosed with any horrible disease nor is she being treated for any disease. That was purely hypothetical. Also hypothetically, I personally hope that FBDC’s Peter Ogburn‘s alleged foot fetish or Pyromania never wind up on the Internet. “I actually like to set feet on fire,” Ogburn told me. “It’s my cake.”
We get that Roeberg, who rarely pitches us on stories that might make the publication look good, has a job to do. She’s a gatekeeper. But we also have a job to do and we’ll continue to do it, with or without her warnings.
Cross your fingers. Here’s to hoping FishbowlDC comes up in today’s meeting.