Maybe she’s just become more careful and didn’t want to risk saying anything controversial — or maybe she simply didn’t feel like appearing on television yesterday. Either way, the result was the same. At the very least, the public was denied the chance to listen in on what turned out to be an interesting discussion. And at worst, a New York Times reporter used the power that comes from being associated with the Times to prove nothing more than that she could get her way.

UPDATE: Linda Greenhouse has written a letter in response to C-SPAN in which she defends herself against their accusations. In it she claims that the “issue is not one of ‘open media access to public policy discussions,’” as C-SPAN’s Terence Murphy wrote in his letter, but “one of communication and simple courtesy.” Ignoring the question of whether she received an email warning her that C-SPAN was going to be present, Greenhouse writes, ” I learned about the plan to
cover the Supreme Court panel only when I showed up and saw the cameras. Prof. Gajda
told me yesterday that she had only learned at 5:00 p.m. the day before that C-Span
intended to cover our panel.”

She continues: “Some months ago, when I accepted the invitation to speak to a roomful of journalism
professors, no one said anything about a nationally televised event. There is a difference
between appearing before a room of 50 or so professors and speaking on national
television, as I’m sure you recognize. I did not agree to do the latter, and notwithstanding
my willingness—as you note—to appear on C-Span dozens of times in the past, whether
to do so remains, it seems to me, a matter in which I still have a say. I am neither a C-
Span employee nor a public official. My past voluntary appearances do not give C-Span
rights in perpetuity to broadcast events at which I appear, whether I agree or not. In fact,
you may or may not be aware that over the years I have from time to time declined to
appear at events that I had assumed were to be private when, at the last minute, I was
informed that C-Span coverage was a fait accompli.”

Gal Beckerman is a former staff writer at CJR.