Reuters: Holder reconsiders, allows meeting with media on leak investigations to be “largely for publication”

posted at 5:21 pm on May 31, 2013 by Allahpundit

What does “largely for publication” mean? I’m as eager to know as you are. There are, if you can believe it, zero direct quotes from Holder in this Reuters piece trumpeting the fact that he allegedly caved in his meeting with them today. In fact, the story has almost no useful details about what was said; maybe this is just an early version and they’re busy right now fleshing it out, but at the moment “largely for publication” seems to mean “you can say that we held the meeting.”

Thus did Moses, the lawgiver, descend from the mountain and declare “It’s okay to write about this but don’t quote me, okay?” And the people rejoiced.

A Reuters spokeswoman had said on Thursday that the news agency would not take part in any discussion that was “off the record,” meaning its contents could not be recorded or reported.

Reuters and some news organizations, including The New York Times and CNN, said they would not attend, but representatives of other news organizations met with Holder on Thursday.

Another meeting went ahead on Friday after Holder agreed its contents would be largely for publication, Reuters Chief Operating Officer Stuart Karle told reporters outside Justice Department headquarters. Karle attended with Marilyn Thompson, the Reuters bureau chief in Washington.

He said that department officials showed an interest in making changes to investigative guidelines on access to media records, but he said it was premature to draw conclusions.

So that’s what we’ve learned thus far. They’re interested in tweaking the protocols on leaks, but they’re also not making any promises. I sure hope there’s a part two to this article in the works, Reuters.

Now I’m wondering what WaPo, Politico, and the other handmaidens who decided to attend yesterday’s meeting think about having missed out on today’s “largely for publication” bonanza. Or did they miss out? Via Sean Higgins and Guy Benson, here’s a choice bit from WaPo’s report on Thursday’s confab. What better way to open a story about press freedom than by reminding the reader that you had to reassure the guy who’s investigating you that you wouldn’t report too much of what he said?

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. pledged Thursday to take concrete steps to address concerns that the Justice Department has overreached in its leak investigations and said officials would seek procedural and possibly legislative changes to protect journalists’ First Amendment rights…

The 90-minute meeting was attended by a small group of journalists after several news organizations objected to the Justice Department’s insistence that it be held off the record. The participants, however, reached an agreement with the Justice Department under which they could describe what occurred during the meeting in general terms

A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment.

Is “in general terms” equivalent to “largely for publication” or has Holder devised some finely tuned new hierarchy of reporting protocols for his pronouncements on prosecuting journalists? I’m looking forward to ABC’s account of the meeting later today noting that they were granted permission to describe what was said “more or less.”


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Charmed, I’m sure.

Resist We Much on May 31, 2013 at 5:26 PM

Largely for publication?

Yeah, keeping a few secrets is a sure way to convince people you’re not keeping any secrets….

There Goes the Neighborhood on May 31, 2013 at 5:32 PM

It means he wants to decide what they get to publish. What the hell else could it mean?

CurtZHP on May 31, 2013 at 5:32 PM

The participants, however, reached an agreement with the Justice Department under which they could describe what occurred during the meeting in general terms

Big room, comfy chairs. Short on snacks.

BobMbx on May 31, 2013 at 5:34 PM

“largely for publication”

In other news today, Eric Holder told members of the press “you’ll print what we damned well tell you to print, and NOTHING else. Unless, of course, you and your employers don’t mind frequent visits from the FBI, IRS and OSHA.”

GarandFan on May 31, 2013 at 5:36 PM

Ya gotta know when to Holder, know when to folder.

PolarCoug on May 31, 2013 at 5:37 PM

It means he wants to decide what they get to publish. What the hell else could it mean?

CurtZHP on May 31, 2013 at 5:32 PM

It means exactly that. It’s the thuggery way. Microsoft did that with computer pubs many years ago. They got journalists to sign partial NDAs that boiled down to: you can write about all the good stuff, but none of the bad stuff. And because their advertising money was at risk, most of the journalists signed. Just like now — because their WH access is at risk, they’ll go along with it.

The Rogue Tomato on May 31, 2013 at 5:38 PM

Examples of journalism from this meeting:

“….Mr Holder wore a black suit, with a red tie. His cufflinks were silver, which matched his silver tie clip. His cologne was muted by strong scent of after shave. Mr Holders sox were dark, and his shoes were polished.”

portlandon on May 31, 2013 at 5:38 PM

Why thank you master, you are so kind.

Problem being, did anyone record the meeting, or take contemporaneous notes? Otherwise each person there is going to remember things differently.

rbj on May 31, 2013 at 5:41 PM

A fig leaf!

applebutter on May 31, 2013 at 5:47 PM

it was going to get out anyways

gerrym51 on May 31, 2013 at 5:51 PM

I love the smell of burnt toast in the morning..It smells like freedom!!!..:)

Dire Straits on May 31, 2013 at 5:51 PM

portlandon on May 31, 2013 at 5:38 PM

I was going to go with: kneepads recommended for attendees. But ok.

Fenris on May 31, 2013 at 5:53 PM

What does “largely for publication” mean?

Ask CNN. IIRC they had a similar deal in Baghdad.

Barnestormer on May 31, 2013 at 5:58 PM

1. Identify who the real Obama-azz-dwellers are (all who went).

2. Make a mockery of them.

3. Make an even begger mockery of the Obama admin.

Goebbels and Putin are having a riot of a time.

Pravda has more credibility.

Schadenfreude on May 31, 2013 at 5:59 PM

begger = bigger

Schadenfreude on May 31, 2013 at 6:00 PM

Woodward and Bernstein would be spinning in their graves (if they were dead).

Seriously, we’ve veered a long way from investigative journalism where the media took administration statements with healthy skepticism. Meeting a disgruntled FBI executive in a parking garage is far different from negotiating terms of reporting about a clear violation of First Amendment rights.

Happy Nomad on May 31, 2013 at 6:00 PM

After accusing journos of spying, Holder promises he will quit spying on them.

Irony.

Resist We Much on May 31, 2013 at 6:06 PM

“Largely for publication” is code for “if you don’t attend, you’ll miss something.” Which is supposed to trigger a Pavlovian media stampede to make sure they don’t miss out on a juicy kibble.

This meeting turned out to be exactly what everyone had expected: A “least effort” attempt to give the MSM something to proclaim, “Problem solved. Nothing more to see here.”

I don’t know what is worse. The fact that the MSM is so easily played, or that Holder is so cynical he believes a move this lame will work.

ROCnPhilly on May 31, 2013 at 6:09 PM

Is it kinda like being a little bit pregnant?

tj4osu on May 31, 2013 at 6:11 PM

Stick a fork in him.

John the Libertarian on May 31, 2013 at 6:11 PM

Largely? I’d love to hear how Holder defines that.

Philly on May 31, 2013 at 6:19 PM

He’ll keep trying until they buy it!

rjoco1 on May 31, 2013 at 6:32 PM

“what occured..in general terms”-
We met, got together, and had a baby?
Or, we met and the meeting was productive?

srdem65 on May 31, 2013 at 6:32 PM

Repulsive arrogance from the nation’s senior law enforcement officer, a man who believes he is above the law and the rules don’t apply to him.

Even if he avoids federal prison, history will judge him to be a little more than a political hatchet man and the most corrupt Attorney General to date.

Just another nasty shitstain on the Obama presidency.

novaculus on May 31, 2013 at 6:44 PM

‘On the record, after the fact’ is even more high-highhandedly autocratic than the original deal. Basically, Holder’s saying, “I’ll review what was said at the meeting, and if I didn’t make any statement and you didn’t ask any questions that might be potentially troublesome for me, out of the goodness of my heart, I’ll let you report on it to the public.

It’s hard to think anything could make those who agreed to attend look more like Obama Administration lapdogs, but this is it. Holder played them for obedient fools two times in two days — if he tells them they can release this part, but not that part, if they have and self-respect, they’ll release the entire transcript.

jon1979 on May 31, 2013 at 7:24 PM

Geez, they are seriously irony impaired.

meezle on May 31, 2013 at 7:43 PM

All or nothing.

DAT60A3 on May 31, 2013 at 8:22 PM

“largely for publication”

Means they only get to publish the stuff that makes Holder look good. We all know that. It has to be all… or it might as well be none.

taznar on May 31, 2013 at 8:34 PM

Transparency? I’d prefer to call it translucency.

bflat879 on May 31, 2013 at 9:40 PM

“largely for publication”

After 11 or so edits, for clarity, of course.

IrishEyes on May 31, 2013 at 10:37 PM

He’s got nothing to say, throws out a term nobody has heard before, leaving the press to wrestle with it, while they plan their next move (since the last one failed).

One question for Holder: how is your investigation into yourself going? Is the witness co-operating?

virgo on June 1, 2013 at 12:42 AM

Thus did Moses, the lawgiver, descend from the mountain and declare “It’s okay to write about this but don’t quote me, okay?” And the people rejoiced.

A masterful stroke of genius AP, but don’t quote me on your next resume, alright?

Don L on June 1, 2013 at 7:52 AM

Is this going to end? Or is this the new normal?

Obama has done more damage to the country than any terrorist before him.

petunia on June 1, 2013 at 12:33 PM

Priorities…

Akzed on June 1, 2013 at 2:54 PM

Largely for Publication: This is a highly technical phrase used by bureaucrats when authorizing the press to report all the material that makes the bureaucrat look good and keeping off the record everything that makes the bureaucrat look like the complete incompetent fool he/she really is.

The general rule of thumb within the government is that “largely for publication” is limited to ambiguous, meaningless, double talk in hopes that the MSM will spin into something positive if it involves Democrats and into something negative if it involves Republicans.

If none of this make sense, then it is largely for publication. Otherwise, it’s off the record.

BMF on June 1, 2013 at 4:25 PM