The Anonymity Files


I have decided to start a new continuing series about news articles that rely solely or mostly on anonymous sources.

Glenn Greenwald has written a lot about this phenomenon, and it seems to me that almost every article in the mainstream media that’s investigative in nature or has something to do with policy or anything that’s at all controversial is based on unnamed sources.

So I have decided to test out my perception. Every time I come across a news article that is largely or completely based on anonymous sources, I will post about it. I will also list each article I write about on a new Page of the same title — The Anonymity Files.

The first entry is an article in today’s New York Times about the internal debate in the White House about the decision to escalate and widen the war in Afghanistan.

Key paragraph:

This article is based on interviews with half a dozen officials who were involved in the debate. All requested anonymity because they were discussing meetings that involved classified material and the shaping of policy.

In other words, no one wanted to be embarrassed or publicly identified with any aspect of this controversial policy decision.

Is that a legitimate reason for a journalist to grant anonymity?

Explore posts in the same categories: Politics

One Comment on “The Anonymity Files”

  1. Chief Says:

    I do not like anonymous sources. Cheney used them to further his own agenda.

    I understand that newspapers compete. I’m sure each newspaper will violate their own “Anonymous Source” guidelines to beat the competition.

    However, is the Administration (in this case) using the media to advance their own cause?


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