The Latest Journalism Norm: Screwing for Exclusives

There WAS a time when news reporters had some semblance of decency and observed professional standards, in fact any implication of using improper methods to get a scoop is met with pious indignation from today’s news media.

Fueled by controversy the past two weeks over the film’s depiction of the Olivia Wilde-portrayed Kathy Scruggs allegedly trading sex with an FBI agent for information that security guard Richard Jewell was their lead suspect in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing, the correspondence sent today makes no bones about the next step being a “defamation lawsuit in various jurisdictions.”
Deadline, 12/9/19

Not like this hasn’t happened before….

Let’s fast forward to today.

An employee of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) pleaded guilty today to charges related to his disclosure of classified national defense information (NDI) to two journalists in 2018 and 2019.

According to court documents, Henry Kyle Frese, 31, of Alexandria, was employed by DIA as a counterterrorism analyst from February 2018 to October 2019, and held a Top Secret//Sensitive Compartmented Information security clearance. United States government agencies have confirmed that in the spring and summer of 2018, News Outlet 1 published eight articles, all authored by the same journalist (Journalist 1) that contained classified NDI that related to the capabilities of certain foreign countries’ weapons systems.

The “Journalist 1” is being referred to as Frese’s “Journalist Girlfriend” and the amount of time they lived together is a little murky depending on the reporting and information given to the court.

Frese and the journalist had the same residential address for a year starting in August 2017 and, based on Frese’s social media pages, “it appears that they were involved in a romantic relationship for some or all of that period of time,” the feds said in a statement.

The journalist gal pal then allegedly asked Frese if he would be willing to help another reporter, a colleague of hers. The names of the journalists and the news organizations they worked for were not revealed.

“Frese stated that he was ‘down’ to help Journalist 2 if it helped Journalist 1 because he wanted to see Journalist 1 ‘progress,’” the feds allege.
NBC Washington, 10/9/19

Good luck with expecting young unprofessional women to keep a secret.

Sorry guys, but you’re just an ends to a means and ultimately discardable because journalists are “protected”. If you get busted, she WILL move on and up.

According to court documents, Frese and Journalist 1 lived together at the same residential address from January 2018 to November 2018. Throughout 2018 and 2019, Frese and Journalist 1 “followed” each other on Twitter, and on at least two occasions Frese re-Tweeted Journalist 1’s Tweets announcing the publications of articles containing NDI classified at the Top Secret level.

These articles contained classified intelligence from five intelligence reports (the Compromised Intelligence Reports) made available to appropriately cleared recipients in the first half of 2018. The topic of all of these initial five Compromised Intelligence Reports – foreign countries’ weapons systems – was outside the scope of Frese’s job duties as an analyst covering CT topics. The media articles, and the intelligence reporting from which they were derived, both contained information that is classified up to the TS//SCI level, indicating that its unauthorized disclosure could reasonably be expected to result in exceptionally grave damage to the national security. The intelligence reporting was marked as such.
Department of Justice, 2/20/19

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with doing good old fashioned reporting, meeting with reputable sources who disseminate official information through the proper channels. However, “leaking” information requires the act of sneaking and as we all know, if you have to sneak, it’s probably something you shouldn’t be doing. The previous administration took a very hard line against leaks and those who committed improper breaches.

President Barack Obama, in fact, set a record for any president with his number of prosecutions against leakers using the Espionage Act.
San Diego Union Tribune, 8/4/17

It’s especially egregious in the era of #MeToo when women are willing to use their reproductive organs to advance careers by any means necessary.

Regardless of gender, using sex for scoops is immoral, unethical and it justifiably makes one wonder how some achieve meteoric professional rises because of exclusive information obtain and used in news stories. In this case, if women get all bent by the offensive implications, then stop “doing it”.

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