Roll Call’s Meredith Shiner defends story on ‘secret’ anti-Hagel email campaign

For better or worse (better, we think), the sausage-making process behind today’s journalism is well out in the open, particularly now that reporters can and do engage each other on Twitter. Roll Call’s Meredith Shiner caused a stir among her peers today by publishing a piece about an allegedly “secret” email campaign originating from Sen. Mark Kirk’s office opposing Chuck Hagel’s defense secretary nod.

A top aide to Sen. Mark S. Kirk, R-Ill., has been distributing anti-Chuck Hagel emails to a large, undisclosed listserv of staffers — including Democrats — beginning as early as Dec. 20, according to the more than a dozen emails obtained by CQ Roll Call.

Richard Goldberg, a deputy chief of staff in Kirk’s office who also focuses on foreign policy issues, has been sending as many as three emails a day to the list, which CQ Roll Call confirmed includes reporters, Republican policy staffers and some Democrats. The emails typically include links or text of articles that cast Hagel — a former Republican senator from Nebraska and President Barack Obama’s secretary of Defense nominee — in a negative light.

Shiner noted through a series of tweets that another staffer was responsible for the headline, “Has Kirk’s Office Been Running a Secret Anti-Hagel Campaign?”

What, didn’t everyone get them? Aren’t you on the list?

No one in the journalist community seems surprised that D.C. staffers are emailing reporters behind the scenes; but is it news?

Secret or not, the word is out: there’s a lot going on behind the scenes between reporters and politicians in D.C. that doesn’t make the news. Shocked?

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