I spoke with Marc Ash yesterday - he's the Executive Director of Truthout.org, and the editor who's been working with Jason Leopold on his stories about how Bush adviser Karl Rove has been indicted; that Rove privately told President Bush he would be resigning; and that Fitzgerald met with Rove's lawyer for 15 hours last Friday.
Leopold's stories were long received with silence from both the mainstream and alternative press; as the days go by and no indictment has been forthcoming, what coverage has emerged has been questioning, if not derisive, about Truthout's coverage.
Truthout and Ash have stood by Leopold's reporting. Relying as he does almost completely on anonymous sources, I wondered if Leopold shared his sources' identities with his editor. So I asked Ash if he knew the identities of Leopold's sources. "I do," he told me. Have you spoken with any of them? "I have," Ash said. "I work with Jason on all sourcing, on all of his pieces, prior to publication."
Keeping an editor in the loop on the identities of confidential sources helps ensure reporters don't make up "sources" out of whole cloth -- which some have come close to accusing Leopold of doing for these stories. It's not a foolproof safeguard -- serial fabricator Steven Glass found ways around the practice (for a time) at The New Republic. But it helps, if only by staking two more reputations -- Ash's and Truthout.org's -- on Leopold's reporting.