IDS challenges "off the record" talk

Dateline: Wed 23 Jan 2008

The Indiana Daily Student, the student newspaper of Indiana University, demonstrates it has the sort of moxie Americans expect from their newspapers.

Here's the link:

The story, by Elvia Malagon, says,

"A lecture scheduled for Tuesday night in the Indiana Memorial Union was canceled after the speaker began feeling ill and after questions arose about the legality of requiring a public speech to be off-the-record.

"Meghan O'Sullivan, former deputy national security advisor to President Bush, was sick to her stomach, said Gene Coyle, faculty adviser for the Student Alliance for National Security, the group that sponsored the event. The lecture, which was set to begin at 6:30 p.m., was delayed because of O'Sullivan's sickness and legal issues surrounding her speech."

O'Sullivan was supposed to talk about "what students can learn from the country's experiences in Iraq and what to anticipate in the future," reports Malagon.

The former Bush advise claims she has given "off-the-record" public talks in the past. Her contract also stipulates that she can only speak off the record. That stance did not set well with the Indiana Daily Student, which refused to agree to not write O'Sullivan's public remarks.

O'Sullivan defended herself with this statement: "(It is) a common practice for people who leave the government. I have spoken widely off-the-record and it has been respected."

If that has happened, someone in Journalism 101 was asleep at the switch. The IDS has received several kudos in comments for standing up to this nonsense -- a former government official who is accepting a fee to speak in public, yet will not allow her remarks to be quoted in a newspaper.

Good story, with more to come. Thanks to a vigilant contact at Emmis for passing it this way.


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