NRK Brennpunkt is Dancing the Tango, but who is Leading?

A relationship with sources that is too cozy is potentially compromising of journalists’ integrity and risks becoming collusive. Journalists have typically favored a more robust, conflict model, based on a crucial assumption that if the media are to function as watchdogs of powerful economic and political interests, journalists must establish their independence of sources or risk the fourth estate being driven by the fifth estate of public relations. (Wikipedia)

The Wikipedia article refers to a dance metaphor, “The Tango”, to illustrate the co-operative nature of a reporter and his source, “It takes two to tango”. The referenced expert suggests that the source often leads, but journalists commonly object to this notion because it signals source supremacy in news making. It also offends journalists’ professional culture, which emphasizes independence and editorial autonomy.

After reading the Wikipedia article, I decided to publish another email from the leaked files.

The email shows a dialouge between Mr. Eraker (Norwegian TV – NRK Brennpunkt) and Jonathan van der Linden. I’ll leave it to the reader to decide if the email gives the impression of a healthy relationship between the source and the reporter. Keep in mind that at this point in April 2020, Mr. Eraker had already for several months been aware of the Psy-Group operation, and Jonathan van der Linden’s involvement in it. He was also aware of the close relationship between Jonathan van der Linden and Ben van Wijhe, Psy-Group’s client.