In an interview on Late Night with Seth Meyers, the CNN journalist, Jake Tapper, said the following about the author of Fire and Fury
Jake Tapper: Oh, yeah! I mean, I, I think Michael Wolff very clearly–and I think he's been pretty open about it. Umm... Early on, he wrote a vaguely flattering piece about President Trump […] it had a nice picture on the cover of er.. The Hollywood Reporter […] And then he did an early interview with Steve Bannon that was, umm, oh, offensively, er... just handing him the microphone an-and talking […] But it was all, what's called in my business, beat sweetening. He was sweetening the beat. He was gaining their trust and they fell for it.
I might have said Michael Wolﬀ was softening the President up and the White House administration. Would that be correct or is sweetening the beat more negative, more backhanded?
Slate Magazine, in April 2009, defined it as
A beat-sweetener is a gratuitously flattering profile that a reporter writes about a government official in the hope that it will encourage (or, at the very least, not impede) that reporter's access to the official in question. … [It is] a meal prepared for someone other than yourself, and there's no reason you should waste precious time ingesting it.
- Is it jargon, only used by the press or do Americans use this expression in the workplace, at home, and at school? Is it relatively well known?
- What expression would the British press use?
- And what is this “beat” that is sweetened? The only thing that comes to my mind is the beetroot vegetable.