The Anonymous Op-Ed Again

Oooh, I love this stuff.

My brother, Andy, took the view that the virtual coup d’etat inside the West Wing — unelected staff essentially running the place to “protect” the country from the President — is major news, and that the Times can’t be faulted for going with it. It’s a good argument. Bob Deans, though, who covered both the Clinton and W White Houses as a correspondent for Cox News Service (flagship paper: The Atlanta Constitution) had a good riposte, to wit:

Andy’s right. But what the Times should have said to the guy was, “be an unnamed source in a news story. Give us the names of others engaged in this exercise and let us verify with them that this is really going on.”

The story would have come out, verified by Times reporters instead of us readers being forced to take this one guy’s word for it, and the Times wouldn’t have compromised the integrity of its op-ed page. In fact, it would have broken a major story on the strength of its reporting. I think Bob is right, too.

 

2 thoughts on “The Anonymous Op-Ed Again

  1. That’s asking a lot from a press establishment that blithely kept calling the Steele Dossier unverified instead of doing its best to inquire into its allegations. The press acted as if it wanted someone else to do its work for it, probably because corporado bottom-liners would have been unwilling to finance such iffy and prolonged inquiries. The result has been that the press has wound up helping the right wing discredit a dossier, so called, that keeps proving itself in spite of the best efforts to dismiss it. Only a week ago a CNN reporter blandly referred to the entire dossier as salacious when in fact only certain passages, yet to be discredited, are salacious. As for what The Times should have done, I don’t think we know enough about what it did or did not do to comfortable prescribe what it should have done.

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  2. Thank you for that addition. I read the anonymous, thought it was news, but thought there was something deeply wrong about the behavior of the people “anonymous” described. Using “anonymous” as an unnamed news source seems exactly right. Thank you.

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