One of the pleasures of digging into MSNBC’s story on the political contributions of working journalists is seeing how people who making a living calling up strangers and demanding answers adapt when they’re on the other end of the phone. Bill Dedman of MSNBC combed through Federal Election Commission records to come up with a list of 144 journalists who have made political contributions in the last three years. It appears he attempted to contact nearly every one of them, but roughly a third of the dedicated professionals defending the public’s right to know either didn’t return Dedman’s calls or messages, or refused to speak when he did reach them.
The refusals include some gems:
"I don’t believe I have to answer that question. Goodbye. Thank you for your call."
"I’m not comfortable being included in the story. Do not publish my name."
"I’m not going to comment on this. I’m not going to have a conversation about this. I’m not going to give you a read one way or another."
"It doesn’t sound like this is going to be a positive story. This sort of story could not possibly be positive for me, so I’m not going to respond. Good luck. Goodbye."
"OK, I’ve been rebuked. Thank you for spanking me in public. Do you hand in all your rights as a public citizen when you do this? I mean — who’s your editor? I’m going to call him right now."