Journalist Ben Smith, now the editor of the left-leaning site BuzzFeed, will probably take some flack for newly released emails including and discussing him.
My colleague Becket Adams walked through those emails in an article this morning. The most striking part is State Department flack Tommy Vietor emailing his bosses "Victory," after Smith tells Vietor that he had been "been successfully, mostly, talked out of" a particular "thesis" about Hillary.
This doesn't mean Smith allowed Hillary's aides to tell him what to write and what not to write. It means Smith had an opinion (a "thesis," as journalists call it when they're playing the "impartial unbiased media" role) and he wanted to test that opinion against people he thought might disagree.
This is a good practice. I do this all the time. Often, when I speak to the company or campaign I'm writing about, I say, "here's my view at the moment, tell me why I'm wrong or what I'm missing." Usually they don't talk me out of my view, but sometimes they force me to refine or alter my thesis.
Sometimes they tell me something I find unconvincing, but I think readers might be persuaded by, so I include it. Often they give me empty spin.
But I never regret running my views past them, to test my arguments. I should probably do it more often. Kudos to Smith for doing so.