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“Off the Record”: Former Time Magazine editor shares why government leaks can be a good thing

Former Time Magazine editor-in chief, Norman Pearlstine

Norman Pearlstine has personally known President Trump about thirty years. Before Trump’s presidency, he was always a public image in New York. Pearlstein says the media was important to him and he describes Trump as a “self-promoter.”

Shortly before Trump was elected president, a Gallup poll indicated that “only thirty-two percent of Americans have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media to report the news fully, accurately and fairly. Other polls point to public distrust of the media’s use of anonymous sources,” Pearlstine writes in his latest article, In Praise of Leaks published in Time.

This week, Trump was accused of verbally shaming African countries, which some news sources claim Trump denies making such comments. Another example is Michael Wolff’s book, Fire and Fury. “Trump dismisses any story he doesn’t like as fake news,” Pearlstein says.  Some leaks he feels were purposely put out as a distraction. “If you’re on the attack, people will be distracted by what is true and that throws the defense off.”

Lately, leaks and hacks have become more of an issue, but he tells Matt Bubala why this could be a positive thing. When the first amendment was written, “founders believed that the press had a healthy role to play in keeping the government honest,” he says. Now, newspapers are slowly dying and public distrust of reporters is growing. He thinks journalism is under attack because “you don’t need a license to be a journalist. The founders weren’t trying to protect big media companies, it’s more to protect the blogger in pajamas.” With so much content all over the netter, it’s easy to find stories that confirm biases.

Norman’s book, Off the Record: The Press, the Government, and the War over Anonymous Source can be found on Amazon or his website.