WaPo humor columnist Gene Weingarten covers a lot of ground in today’s online chat. Think of him as your Journalism professor minus all those rules to be quiet or couth.
A reader wonders if it’s ever okay to lie to hostile sources.
Weingarten replies, “This is a journalism question, and an interesting one. A quick and glib answer is that you should not lie to hostile sources because you are not the police and this is not a criminal matter. … We are dealing with people who have every right not to talk to us.” He also discusses the idea of journalists subtly manipulating sources by using such things as flattery to get what they want. Bottom line: Weingarten thinks we owe it to any kind of source to be honest, but there are nuances.
As for the name ‘Dick,’ Weingarten goes out on a limb and discusses why so few people have that name these days. He brings up a magazine writer named Richard Blow and a Texas urologist named Dr. Chopp. Naturally Chopp performs vasectomies.