Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Haggling Over the Price

First I must make amends. I said earlier that I had not seen anything in Poynter Online (I think I referred to it as Romenesko.) about unnamed sources. A simple search proved me wrong. It would seem the Poynter folks are as upset with unnamed sources as I am. This site has links to other site on the same subject.

Tried publishing this blog with the sites embedded in the graf above and hypertexed but it didn't work. So, here is my site were I miswrote:


And here is the site on Poynters where there is much ado about blind references:


A man walks up to a woman in a bar and asked her if she will have sex with him in his room for a million dollars. She says of course. He then asked her for quicky in a dark corner of the bar for fifty dollars. She replies indignantly, “What do you think I am?”
He replies, “We’ve already determined what you are, we’re just haggling over price.”

While not trying to besmirch the oldest of free enterprises, much the same conclusion can be said for front-page news stories that use unnamed sources. I know that what they teach in journalism schools may not be the real world of hard new in what is now bloggingly referred to as “Mainstream Media,” but neither is Sunday school the real world – but it is a goal for which to strive.

I am aware that unnamed sources do serve the nation’s interest. While Deepthroat is a good example of why reporters must use unnamed sources because Watergate and Nixon’s resignation may never have happen while the dirty tricks and use of IRS records would have continued or even gotten worse, a better example is closer at hand. Judith Millers of The New York Times used unnamed sources (probably sanctioned by the administration) to contribute to the run up to war in Iraq. At the same time, Knight Ridder was using unnamed sources to disclaim and discount the reports of WMD in Iraq.

Here in one news cycle we have an argument for unnamed sources and an example of how it can be abused and a tool for hidden agendas. So where do we go from here?

Links to this post


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Links to this post:

Create a Link