This is why if you ever do anything in your life that people might want to know about, never EVER answer a request for an interview with anything that could even be used to find a bit of truth. "Off the record" means "this will get into the headline" and everything you say can and will be used against you to get pageviews. The two best responses to a request for an interview are to file a restraining order and if that doesn't work, spend a couple bitcoins on an assassin.
Your advice is a good one for subjects of a possible exposé or smear campaign, however, out of hand dismissing journalists as people without integrity is not in the best interests of an informed public and (probably) in many cases unwarranted.
When I was a university professor, the Chronicle of Higher Education asked for an interview about what it's like to be single and a new faculty (ha!). I agreed to an interview and, on several occasions, said that I wanted to say a few things "off the record" about the behavior of colleagues and the spouses of colleagues (ahem). Some of what I said off the record was juicy and I told my interviewer those things to contextualize my "on the record" remarks.
The article was published, my female colleague who was written up got a couple of marriage proposals, and everything attributed to me was on the up and up.
I know not all journalists adhere to a code of ethics, but I believe that many do. Clamming up when a story needs to get out may protect you, but one needn't be suspicious form the get go.