Saturday, March 21, 2009

Confidential Sourcing

Clark Hoyt focuses on The New York Times policy on using confidential sources vs. the reality of what gets into print. Copy editors and, more recently, many bloggers, have been fighting this uphill battle for years.

Among other failures of New York Times reporters to follow the policy that Hoyt cites is the planting of the egregiously false rumors about Caroline Kennedy when she was being considered for appointment to Hillary Clinton's Senate seat.

I'm sure there will be much defensiveness about why this goes on, with arguments about why each example deserves to be exempted from the policy.

But if you think back to the days of Henry Kissinger as secretary of state, when the oft-quoted "senior administration official" was old Henry the K. himself, making friends with reporters, you'll see how silly this is and how used the press has been for years.

And at least anecdotally, the granting of anonymity certainly seems to have increased in recent years, with no perceptible value.

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