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Justice Department's Idiotic Shunning of Online Journalism Organization

Talking Points Memo’s Josh Marshall reports that he’s been “Banned at The DoJ” — taken off the email distribution list for press releases and the like. This has to be one of the more lame governmental PR decisions of the recent past.

TPM and its sister websites did spectacular work last year in uncovering and pushing ahead the story of the political firings of U.S. attorneys (and government sliming of those prosecutors who dared ask why they were being fired), which is the obvious reason the Justice Department has shunned them. The department PR person observes in an email to TPM that the releases are otherwise available:

We do however have all our press releases on our website and update them the minute they are released so I would suggest looking there. You can also always call us with press inquiries.

But the message is plain — and petty.

As you might expect, the department doesn’t make its releases available with an RSS feed. That would be, well, up to date.

So here’s a suggestion for a non-shunned journalist covering the Justice Department. Kindly set up an automatic relay in your email to forward all department press releases to Marshall and his team.

And let your department contacts know how idiotic the public-affairs people — under orders from their bosses? — are being.

7 Comments on “Justice Department's Idiotic Shunning of Online Journalism Organization”

  1. #1 Seth Finkelstein
    on Jan 16th, 2008 at 2:30 pm

    This seems strange enough that my CHECK-IT-OUT! sensibility comes into play.

    Of course, what’s the fun in that?

  2. #2 Dan Gillmor
    on Jan 16th, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    If Marshall reports it I’m going to trust he got it right. He’s earned that.

  3. #3 Seth Finkelstein
    on Jan 16th, 2008 at 4:49 pm

    This does not make sense: “As you may realize we have a lot of requests to be put on our media lists and we simply are not able to put everyone on the list.”

    I assume the email isn’t forged.
    But the CHECK-IT-OUT! thing to do is ask the person “Huh? What do you mean? How that be so?”.

    But that’s no fun.

    The fun thing to do is RANT. OH MY GOD THE BUSH DOJ … well, you know the drill :-( .

    Next act: Someone figures out the person who said this was very confused. IT’S A VICTORY FOR CITIZEN JOURNALISM WHO STOPPED THE CENSORS!!!

    I’m really starting to develop a lot of sympathy for those organizations which just don’t want to deal with it all.

  4. #4 Jon Garfunkel
    on Jan 16th, 2008 at 8:44 pm

    Marshall’s earned my trust as well.

    Of course, it pales in comparison to TPM’s echo of an AP story how the White House neglected to maintain the backup tapes for the email archives from March to October 2003. The explanation they gave for recycling the tapes was that it was “consistent with industry best practices.”

  5. #5 Justice Department’s Idiotic Shunning of Online Journalism Organization | Dan Gillmor | Voices | AllThingsD
    on Jan 17th, 2008 at 1:07 am

    [...] and the like. This has to be one of the more lame governmental PR decisions of the recent past. Read the rest of this post Dan Gillmor, a former columnist for the San Jose Mercury News, is director of the Center for [...]

  6. #6 Dan Gillmor
    on Jan 17th, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    The email archives thing is a real scandal, yet another one. Of course, Congress will do absolutely nothing serious about it.

  7. #7 Build the Echo » Blog Archive » links for 2008-01-23
    on Jan 23rd, 2008 at 9:21 am

    [...] Justice Department’s Idiotic Shunning of Online Journalism Organization TPM is getting shut out of the DOJ’s press department. Talk about impact! (tags: buildtheecho progressive_media talking_points_memo) Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. [...]