There’s nothing unusual about a reporter verifying facts with a subject of a story he is writing. But, the way in which Politico’s Glenn Thrush fact-checked a story with the Clinton campaign’s John Podesta raised plenty of eyebrows Monday:

thrush

No worries Because I have become a hack I will send u the whole section that pertains to u. Please don’t share or tell anyone I did this Tell me if I fucked up anything.

As Josh Feldman at Mediaite points out, Thrush was getting approval on a story titled “Hillary’s big-money dilemma,” which focused on fund-raising concerns for the Clinton campaign.

Alex Pfeiffer at The Daily Caller reached out to Politico for comment and explanation of their standard practices with regard Thrush, or any of their other reporters (hacks or otherwise) gaining approval from political campaigns.

Their response was… colorful:

Hi Alex,

Glenn has a self-deprecating sense of humor, one of the many blessings of being born and raised in Brooklyn. You know Alex, Oscar Wilde once pointed out that people are never so trivial as when they take themselves seriously. That wisdom seems to apply here.

The bottom line is that Glenn got the chairman of the notoriously secretive Clinton campaign – who is not typically a font of detail – to confirm a bunch of inside information that he culled from other sources. I can speak with firsthand knowledge and experience that Glenn does this with everybody, on both sides of the aisle. Glenn is one of the top political reporters in the country, in no small part because he understands that it is his job is to get inside information, not appear perfect when someone illegally hacks emails.

Curiously, since you’ve referred to Glenn as a “fucking joke” on social media, one has to wonder whether you might be approaching this line of questioning with your own biases. Is it standard practice at the Daily Caller to assign reporters to cover subjects whom they’ve described in such a manner?

 

Indeed, The DC’s response in Pfeiffer’s post was pithy and biting.

“You’re right. That was unfounded speculation, but now we have proof,” TheDC replied.

 

Thrush took to Twitter to defend himself:

All of this is well and good, however, the tone and language of the email still raises questions. If this is standard operating procedure, why call yourself “a hack” when sending copy for the purposes of fact-checking?

Furthermore, why ask Podesta to not “tell anyone I did this” if this is an innocent fact-check request. Generally speaking, if a professional is engaged in a standard practice consistent with the traditions of his profession, he doesn’t beg for secrecy, does he?

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