Young Mathew Yglesias and Brian Beutler brag about their participation in an off-the-record confab with Barack Obama. A few commenters give them a delightfully hard-time about the rather obvious status-mongering subtext -- "I got to talk to Obama and you didn't, nyah, nyah!"
Puncturing the vanity of Young Mathew Yglesias is Always A Good Idea, but I think that the issues go beyond that. This whole off-the-record thing is one area where bloggers might not want to imitate the Mainstream Media. I can see a justification for an off-the-record conversation with a whistleblower -- somebody whose life or livelihood might be endangered if he or she made on-the-record comments. But Barack Obama is a sitting United States Senator and leading presidential candidate. What is the justification for letting him go off the record? Isn't any statement he makes inherently a matter of public concern? All this "off-the-record" and "deep background" crap is one of the Bad Things about the Mainstream Media, and it's something that bloggers ought not thoughtlessly emulate.
Yglesias and Beutler are free to do what they want -- there's no Blogging Council that will disblog them. But I think that the ideals of transparency that differentiate blogging from the MSM are not served by this sort of secret meeting.