Patterico's Pontifications


Trusting Others’ Anonymous Sources

Filed under: General,Media Bias — Patterico @ 4:15 pm

Editor and Publisher has a story about newspapers’ decisions whether to run the “Larry Craig is gay” story. Vicki Gowler, the editor of the Idaho Statesman, said she wouldn’t run a story based on Mike Rogers’s anonymous sources. She added:

. . . I’m not willing to run a story until we have some evidence of our own — our own anonymous sources, at the least.

It sounds funny, but it makes a certain kind of sense — you don’t necessarily trust another journalist’s anonymous sources, at least unless you trust the journalist (and maybe not even then).

When you don’t trust the journalist, forget about it.

The L.A. Times and New York Times use anonymous sources because they figure their readers trust them.

As it becomes apparent to them that fewer and fewer people do — for good reason — perhaps their use of anonymous sources will diminish.

8 Responses to “Trusting Others’ Anonymous Sources”

  1. Maybe they will also figure out that a person’s private sex life isn’t properly news (even when they wish to bash someone). We can only hope.

    Ahab (2b9db4)

  2. Shouldn’t you just be courting the gay vote and saying, “Hey, look at all the gay republicans we have. Who knew?”

    How is this a scandal? Someone is gay? Yawn.

    Christoph (9824e6)

  3. Did the dinosaurs see extinction coming?

    bill (26027c)

  4. The growing problem for newspapers are court decisions that have put sunlight where only darkness prevailed. After Judith Miller and now Stephen Hatfill, the ability to hide behind anonymous sources has been severely diminished, especially when the targets if shoddy journalism push back.

    Remember also, those who carry a second hand libelous story without any attempt of verification are equally liable. Congratulations Idaho Statesman for practicing good journalism!

    It gives me greater pleasure to watch a Judith Miller rot in jail for contempt, than see a paper shell out several million dollars to settle a suit.

    I would love to see the legal bills for the NY Times for the past couple of years.

    Corky Boyd (a8cc75)

  5. Back when I worked at a newspaper, they determined that reporters could use anonymous sources in their stories if the editor involved had the source name. It was designed to keep down the “fake anonymous source” sort of thing, plus made the reporter more accountable for his/her sources.

    sharon (dfeb10)

  6. Sorry Patterico, but just as some leftists will see voter fraud disenfranchisment as reasons why they did not win 50+ seats this upcoming Tuesday, the NYTimes will find any excuse other than their own incompentence, bias, and agendas as reason for their declining readership.

    They dont know anyone who does not read nor does not trust them.

    bains (9ab9f8)

  7. the news that “larry craig is gay” is simply not fit to print. the train station trysts, if the slightest bit of substantiation can be found, are another story. nobody wants a u.s. senator vulnerable to being blackmailed by george michael.

    assistant devil's advocate (420d69)

  8. The $64,000 for stories based on anonymous sources: How do we know the “reporter” isn’t just making the whole thing up?

    larry (336e87)

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