Axios reported yesterday that Michael Wolff taped the conversations that he used for his book:
Michael Wolff has tapes to back up quotes in his incendiary book — dozens of hours of them….
In some cases, the officials thought they were talking off the record. But what are they going to do now?
I am a relative nobody. But I know better.
I talk with the press fairly frequently. I have reporters that I talk with a lot because they are honestly striving to tell complex stories with the intent of making their readers smarter by the end of the piece. I assume that any interaction I have with any reporter is on the record and highly likely to be recorded.
On Wednesday evening, a reporter that I have talked with in the past e-mailed me to ask for some background on a long term policy issue. I said I could callback in 10 minutes. The initial chunk of the conversation was like this:
“Hi, this is John Doe of the XXX News”
“Hi John, this is Dave from Duke, responding to your e-mail, still got time?”
“Yep, let me get my recorder going…”
“Everything on the record unless we both agree before hand?”
“Sounds good, so tell me about X and Y and how they interact?”
And then we talked for a while.
This is not hard. You assume that you are on the record and a good memorization will occur unless there is a specific guarantee that is previously agreed upon that says a conversation is either off the record, deep background, not for attribution or any other restriction including no notes/recordings. I’m a nobody who will never work in the White House and I know that.