Why We Know What McChrystal Said

NEW ORLEANS--In some ways, it's a cliche of the media business: reporters butter up their sources to keep precious "access" to tomorrow's leaks. In another way, it's always news.

Jay Rosen writes an eye-opening piece today about the Rolling Stone McChrystal article; more precisely, the piece is about a revelation about that article published, and then de-published, in Politico. The essential point, for the link-leery: we only got to read about McChrystal & Co's imprudence because the RS reporter was a freelancer, not a Pentagon beat reporter desirous of maintaining his relationship with an important source.

Read it, and then watch/read your favorite beat reporters -- whether in DC, Baghdad, or Kabul -- with this insight in mind.