In his follow-up piece today that flagged Reid’s earlier comments, Stein offered this account:

Either way, the political implications of Romney’s tax history eclipse the question of the identity of Reid’s anonymous Bain source. Romney’s refusal to release further tax return data has left the door open for his critics to dispense with the presumption of innocence and speculate openly about what possibly nefarious details he is trying to hide.

But the press has agency here, too, and needs to draw some important distinctions: informed speculation like Graetz’s can enlighten readers and show paths to aggressive, responsible reporting. Open speculation, like Reid’s, does neither.

Liz Cox Barrett and Greg Marx are CJR staff writers and co-editors of The Swing States Project.