Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Anonymous Sources

It hit me today. It wasn't an article about President Bush or the CIA. It was a sports article. And it said, "according to the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity". And I just thought that, really, really, someone could say just about anything anonymously and off the record. I mean, we all think anonymous sources are skeptical at times, but this is the first time it really, really hit me, how unethical the practice can be. And why it should absolutely stop. Period. And no respectable journalist, or publication, should ever use the practice. Period. What wouldn't a person be willing to say anonymously about an opponent?

It's like talking behind someone's back. People will say all sorts of things that they could never say directly to that person or in mixed company. But make it anonymous and kids could write all sorts of things about another student and pass it around school. The principal would track down the source. And that's how its supposed to be. And that's why kids have better ethical behavior than journalists and main stream media outlets such as the Washington Post, Newsweek, and the New York Times.

Behind this vail of anonymous sources, the editors and journalists can move any agenda to the front page. They just need one friend-- a stand-by anonymous source. It's a disturbing practice. It's deeply dishonest. It happens far too frequently. And it is unfortunately politically motivated collusion between the Democratic Party, their big, big money power brokers, and their easy-to-influence friends in the media.

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