David Kirkpatrick of the New York Times called my publisher today and requested an interview with me about A Mormon In The White House. I called him back, and the conversation began with the history of the project and my experience filmg Searching For God In America in the mid-90s. As is my practice, I invited him to conduct the interview on my show so that America could hear how the MSM goes about its work. He declined.
Then Mr. Kirkpatrick asked me how much my advance had been, which I declined to state.
He then asked if I was aware of a Boston Globe story from last year about Romney’s spreading money around the conservative movement. I had not heard of or seen that story.
And shortly thereafter he asked if I or any entity related to me had been paid by Mitt Romney or any organization affiliated with him to write the book.
The answer is, of course, no –“Absolutely not” is how I put it to him– and I went on to express in no uncertain terms my disgust with his asking the question, which he defended as based on chit-chat he had heard, and he defended the asking of the question in private as a way of debunking the rumor.
“Have you stopped beating your wife” questions are part of gutter journalism, and asking them without any predicate other than rumor astounds me. As any reader of this site or any of my books knows, I have beliefs about MSM and its many biases and the flaws in its coverage, but I have never believed that any journalist of any stature would take secret payoffs in exchange for writing a story or a book.
The invitation to Mr. Kirkpatrick to appear on the program and defend his journalistic method remains open, and I have invitations out to other MSMers. Mr. Kirkpatrick believes they will all defend his asking of the question. Perhaps they will, but embracing slander as an excuse to go fishing for a story has not been a practice I associate with quality journalism.