Salon defends White House-NBC story


Despite strong denials from both the White House and NBC, Salon editors say they stand by a story published Thursday reporting that senior White House communications staffers complained to the network about an interview Tom Brokaw did last week with former president Bill Clinton.

Reporter Jake Tapper's "sourcing on the story was impeccable," says Washington Bureau Chief Kerry Lauerman. The report was based on "multiple background sources," he said, adding that both NBC and the White House "had and opportunity to deny the report Wednesday and didn't."

But that's not what the White House and NBC say. "We emphatically refute the report" by Salon, a White House spokesman told B&C on Friday. The spokesman added that Friday morning White House communications director Karen Hughes asked her senior staffers and "all of the White House communication operation" if any one was aware of calls complaining to NBC. "To a person," the response was "no such call was made," the spokesman said. "I would also report that the spokesmen at the White House that typically receive calls from the [Salon] reporter are unaware" of any calls from him seeking comment, the spokesman said.

NBC denied the story yesterday, saying a spokesperson got a call looking for comment from Salon writer Jake Tapper. The spokesperson said they would check out the story and get back to him, but apparently didn't get back to him before deadline. - Steve McClellan