Sometimes, those three aspects swell together in what I would call the Perfect Contrivance.
Take the controversy surrounding Bob Woodward. The still-sober half of Richard M. Nixon's favorite reporting duo is taking heat in some media circles for not disclosing his role in Plamegate. (Never mind that to the rest of America this is a big snooze.) And certain Globe op-ed writers are among those throwing darts. To wit: On media critic and visiting Northeastern journalism professor Dan Kennedy's blog this week, the Globe's Joan Vennochi wrote:
[T]his is my last comment. Tell me, how do you serve two masters? Your book and your newspaper? You don't. Woodward needs to choose and the choice seems obvious to me( as well as to nearly all my emailers).
And by the way, what, exactly, does the Post get from an author whose loyalty is to his book publisher, not to his newspaper publisher?
And here's my response:
I would disagree with this. There's clearly no internal pressure on Woodward to choose. And there was no external pressure, not until this came up anyway.
If Woodward were made to choose, then wouldn't that Globe blowhard Dan Shaughnessy have to choose too? His column, it can be argued, is simply a vehicle for him to promote his contrived books. Let's see your column on that.
I have a feeling I'll be waiting forever for that column.