Politico’s Glenn Thrush is a regular and valued guest on my program. He’s also a friend and though I am not a frequent user of his colorful language, I do know that the practice of checking quotes with sources is practiced throughout journalism –as confirmed by National Review’s Eliana Johnson to me on today’s show– and that checking details of stories is also common. (Its often been a courtesy extended me by reporters writing profiles of my, especially when debate season hit.) Glenn joined me this AM;
HH: Joined now by Glenn Thrush, chief political correspondent of Politico. Glenn, good morning, welcome to the Hugh Hewitt show.
GT: Good morning.
HH: How do you like being the subject of a story as opposed to the reporter on it?
GT: Oh, man, it sucks.
GT: …you know, particularly when it’s, you know, essentially stolen emails and it’s on process stuff and you’re just trying to break news, you know?
HH: Let me ask, you know, I’ve been reading the harshest treatment of you over at the Daily Caller by Alex Pfeiffer, and I know you two are not friendly. But…
GT: Wait, hold on. I’m not unfriendly. The guy has just been going after me, so…
HH: Yeah, okay. Agreed. And I, by the way…
HH: Full disclosure, Glenn’s a friend of mine, and he did not reveal in a podcast once that I did not know who Louie C.K. was, so I’m deeply indebted to him.
HH: And Glenn’s very funny, so you didn’t…but nevertheless, so people now know my bias. I think there is a whole long of shock, shock there’s gambling going on here. Is it common practice among political reporters to send their stories to principals in order to fact check specifics?
GT: I do it, take this down, Hugh, I mean, there’s two components to that answer. I do a version of read back, what I call read back, with every single story that I do. If I’m doing a story that involves anything that’s in any way controversial or involves facts, complex facts that I require fact checking on, I do it in every single story. Let me give you a larger example of that. When I did a big profile of Speaker John Boehner for Politico Magazine a while ago, probably a year and a half ago, I sat down in Boehner’s office with two of his senior staffers with the text in my hand and essentially read them almost every single word, and they would say yes, this is true, this is not true. And in fact, as a product of most of those interactions, I get more information, not less. On the Podesta one, and again, I’m loathe to kind of talk about reporting methods, because you know, this stuff wouldn’t, you know, this stuff is essentially out there as a result of an illegal hack. But in the Podesta case, essentially what I got him to do was to confirm significant internal details on a story that I had only gotten from sources that were lesser. So essentially, my take on that interaction initially was that I had succeeded in getting him to confirm things that I hadn’t done. Now my language in terms of doing that was, I was, I made a joke. I called myself a hack. You know, not in a million years would I have expected that joke to have become public. And people can say what they want, but you know, I am a big, big, big proponent of letting people who are the subjects of your stories knowing A) what is coming, and B) what the details are so that I can get them right. Continue Reading