As Eric has pointed out, I haven’t been very good at replying to comments of late, so I thought I’d better get to it, post haste.

He said:

But what is an editorialist (the focus of the piece) that sets him or her above any random non-expert posting to his LJ, aside from a paycheck signed by the New York Times? I thought you’d written about this subject, before.

In theory, the answer is “research” and “contacts”. The editorialist is expressing not just his own opinion, but those of his contacts in the marketplace. He’s becoming a conduit for the opinion of experts who cannot express themselves openly. At least, that’s the theory. The truth is more likely to be that the rise of the opinion columnist, who makes money by ranting about anything that takes their fancy has lead to editorial writer starting to walk the same path. At that point, the only thing that separate them from a well-informed blogger is writing skill and subbing support. Sometime that difference is all too small.

He also said:

I’m interested in this letter of Kelly’s Lord Hutton has. According to the Financial Times (from ever-handy Instapundit):

Lord Hutton on Friday revealed that Mr Kelly – the official referred to by Mr Gilligan – told his Ministry of Defence line manager that the story bore little relation to the information he gave to the reporter.

Mr Kelly wrote to his MoD boss after Mr Gilligan had given evidence to the foreign affairs select committee for the first time. In a letter sent on June 30, the weapons expert said he had met Mr Gilligan to “privately discuss his Iraq experiences and definitely not to discuss the dossier”.

The letter claimed Mr Kelly did “not even consider that I was the source” of the Today story until a friend pointed out that comments by the source on Iraq’s chemical and biological capacity were the sort of remarks he would make.

The prevailing view on this is that Kelly was busy trying to cover his arse with all due speed. Who can blame him? The BBC are adamant that he was their source (and have a tape to prove it). This means that the organization genuinely believes this, or that there’s another source whom the Beeb would rather not find lying on a hillside with mysterious pads on his or her chest…