Monday, April 06, 2009

Term of the Day: Beat Sweetener

Here's one I didn't know: "Beat Sweetener". A beat sweetener is a flattering article written about someone in power with the object of getting access to that person later (in order to get scoops or inside information). Here's Atrios:
I recently learned what is apparently a term of art in the world of elite pristine journalism. It describes the standard and accepted - and well understood by all involved except the readers - practice of writing sycophantic source-favoring articles based on the idea that such things will buy you access so that later you might be able to be the one to share actual important information with readers. Never fear, dear readers, no blogger ethics panel is necessary for this journalist-approved practice, even if certain uncomfortable facts never quite make to readers...

Next time I read a profile of some new government official or CEO or entertainment figure, I'll ask myself "Is this a beat sweetener?"

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