I like having official sources and good relationships with the press offices, but also I don’t care that much because I have this outlet that’s pretty much mine. Ultimately if I screw something up, it’s my fault. It’s an institutional problem, but it’s much more my fault. I have freedom, enough rope to hang myself. It’s harder to call an editor and scream about what I did. It’s like, look, he hanged himself, yell at him. At times I am a massive irritant to campaigns, which is fine. I’m of the view it’s better to be feared than loved. I like, I love, politicians and political operatives. They are people I enjoy talking to. There’s a class of political reporter who, I think, hates politicians and thinks they’re all criminals and thinks it’s a reporter’s job to expose them, and there’s another class who thinks they’re all heroes. The job used to be to construct these hero narratives. I really like politicians and politics and think it’s an honorable calling. But not that honorable.

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.