Since when is it dirty to encourage reporters to commit journalism?

Has American politics become so wussified (to use Kinky Friedman’s wonderful phrase) that spreading information about someone’s allegedly unprofessional conduct is now considered dirty? Heck, even Perry seems to think so, telling CNN’s John King on Thursday evening that if anyone on his campaign was behind the story, they are “out the door.” Why? He would fire someone for leaking damaging information on his opponent? That’s like benching a linebacker for sacking the opposing quarterback…

Here’s the Begala Standard: if an attack is fair, factual, and about the public record, it’s not dirty. Business experience—and, yes, one’s conduct around the office or in an after-work watering hole—is relevant. Scrutinizing it is fair. You don’t attack someone’s race or religion or gender or sexual orientation. You don’t go after family. You don’t pry into private lives, but you look at public performance in office, or in prior campaigns; you look at business and financial matters, votes and quotes (and for the presidency and vice presidency I think health is a legitimate inquiry). And there’s nothing wrong with encouraging journalists to do so as well.