Cosma Shalizi writes:
Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps? New York Times Pulls Its Punches Story: It's true that Lichtblau and Risen are simply providing a SFW summery of Roston's story, but isn't that something of a public service?
He is referring to:
Eric Lichtblau and James Risen: Government Tries to Keep Secret What Many Consider a Fraud: Hiding Details of Dubious Deal, U.S. Invokes National Security: WASHINGTON — For eight years, government officials turned to Dennis Montgomery, a California computer programmer, for eye-popping technology that he said could catch terrorists. Now, federal officials want nothing to do with him and are going to extraordinary lengths to ensure that his dealings with Washington stay secret.... In 2009, the Air Force approved a $3 million deal for his technology, even though a contracting officer acknowledged that other agencies were skeptical about the software, according to e-mails obtained by The New York Times. Hints of fraud by Mr. Montgomery, previously raised by Bloomberg Markets and Playboy, provide a cautionary tale about the pitfalls of government contracting...
I don't think that Lichtblau and Risen have any business writing their story without saying--at its top--something like:
Our story is a very compressed and only slightly updated version of Adam Roston's Playboy story of more than a year ago here: http://www.playboy.com/articles/the-man-who-conned-the-pentagon-dennis-montgomery/index.html?page=1
The willingness of reporters for major newspapers and magazines to take the work of others and regurgitate it in summarized form while providing no clues to where it came from or where readers should go to learn more continues to amaze me.