National Journal Refuses to Allow Quote Neutering


Washington insider publication National Journal has issued a strong rebuke to a growing practice between political sources and political reporters, whereby in exchange for access, the reporter permits a candidate's or campaign staffer's quotes to be filtered through a campaign's approval machinery. National Journal editor-in-chief Ron Fournier wrote in a memo to staff, “If a public official wants to use NJ as a platform for his/her point of view, the price of admission is a quote that is on-record, unedited and unadulterated.”

The Times wrote last week on the process: "The quotations come back redacted, stripped of colorful metaphors, colloquial language and anything even mildly provocative." That said, the Times reported of conversations it had with journalists who have traded access for quote massaging, who said, "No one said the editing altered the meaning of a quote. The changes were almost always small and seemingly unnecessary."

Both the Obama and Romney campaigns have issued their own demands regarding final cut on quotes. But if Fournier's mandate sticks, you won't find those comments in his magazine's pages.