Journal’s Reporters Kept in the Dark on Rove

The Observer reported yesterday on editorial page editor Paul Gigot's scoop about Karl Rove’s resignation, buried on page A15.

Since The Journal did not run a reported story at the time, there is a piece today out of the Washington D.C. bureau, co-written by John D. McKinnon and Jackie Calmes. (Oddly, it doesn't jump off Page 1).

When reached by phone, Ms. Calmes said that she was given no forewarning from Journal higher-ups about the contents of Mr. Gigot’s interview, and discovered the news the same time as the competition—in the early morning hours on August 13. Of course, Mr. Rove spread the news to Mr. Gigot two days earlier.

So did Mr. Rove give the scoop to The Journal’s editorial page with an embargo not to leak it to the other side of the editorial/ news divide?

Managing editor Marcus Brauchli has not returned emails or calls seeking comment. Mr. Gigot has declined to comment.

But Peter Baker, the Washington Post’s White House correspondent, expressed his theory in an online Q&A. (Thanks FishbowlDC).

“Rove obviously crafted his own departure strategy, starting with a mostly sympathetic ear in Paul Gigot, the editorial page editor of the Journal,” Mr. Baker wrote. “Gigot got the scoop and wrote a piece that let Rove largely frame his decision on his terms. It's a little unusual to do it that way, but I suppose not entirely surprising. It certainly made for an early morning since the Journal email came out around 4:45 a.m."

Quite early for the Journal’s own reporters, too.