Without further ado, Sam Power has resigned as foreign policy advisor to Obama.
As a seasoned journalist herself, Power should have known to be more guarded in her comments, and her resignation may have been be the fair price to pay for them. However, also as a journalist, she might have have reasonably expected “off-the-record” to mean that very thing, as it usually does. Despite the explanation The Scotsman offered for printing her remarks, their reasoning leaves a lot open to question in terms of the broader ethics of reporting.
As all journalists know, off the record exchanges are an incredibly useful way to gather information. Political reporting simply wouldn’t exist without them. Unless something is pressingly in the public interest (and Power’s use of metaphor was manifestly not) it is in our collective interest not to abuse this basic rule.
Ms Power may rightly be feeling hard done by. But she is only 38 and has already had an impressive career—she is a highly successful author, academic and journalist, and will no doubt go on to achieve even greater things. On the other hand, the future looks less rosy for Scotsman hack Gerri Peev, who may soon discover that people aren’t so willing to talk to her anymore.