Reid’s Comments in Game Change Signal End of Off the Record

Reid’s folks say the comments that were printed were off the record.

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By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers

The new 2008 campaign tome Game Change—which revealed Sen. Harry Reid's suggestion that Barack Obama could win because he is "light skinned" and has no "Negro dialect"—did more than tarnish the Senate majority leader's reputation. It signals the demise of the journalist-source practice of talking "off the record." The ground rules of the Reid interview are unclear. Reid's folks say it was off the record, but the words still ended up in print. Whatever, say two political PR giants. "I believe the media's own Internet services and the bloggers have rendered almost all the old reporting rules obsolete," says former Bush 41 spokesman Marlin Fitzwater. "I always told my young press assistants that there is no such thing as off the record," adds former Clinton White House spokesman Mike McCurry. "The transaction of information is based on trust, but I can see that breaking down between reporters and sources through episodes like this."

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