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The press has often been called the handmaiden of government. Certainly that was the case when journalists who covered government operations, whether at the federal, state, or local level, dutifully reported what they received by way of news releases or statements from government spokesmen. Though the press today is the handmaiden of the government, the official reporting of statements have turned into the unofficial and anonymous q leaksq from the government. For the most part, such leaks are useful. They do add to the understanding of the government by the public and consequently tends to lead to more accountability. However, there have also been long problems with the media and q leaksq . As some politicians and insiders use the media as an instrument to gain favor or start exaggerated mud slinging, the press does not much care about the motives of its sources, only if it is news. In Leaking: Who Does It? Who Benefits? At What Cost? veteran journalist and author, Elie Able, considers what can be done about the leaks and leakers. It is his view that nothing can or should be done to muzzle leakers but that the press might consider taking voluntary action to be somewhat more responsible in making clear the motives of those who leak. His paper is useful and informative and wise on leaking, recognizing both the value and the limitations of leaks.... the Russians had learned from Pelton, and that any story about the case would gravely threaten the national security. ... Again the Post withheld publication and started to prepare a new version that deleted all the aquot;wiring diagramaquot; detailsanbsp;...

Author: Elie Abel
Publisher:Twentieth Century Foundation - 1987

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