The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Friday, March 26, 2004
 

Overholser joins the anonymice hunt


Geneva Overholser, J-prof and cute with it, has a piece on Poynter on the New York Times' and Washington Post's performance under their new regimes governing the use of anonymous sources and is unimpressed [1].

She hits the key fact: that it's the newspaper's current laxness that allows the anonymice to get away with it.

Commenting on a White House anonymous rebuttal in WaPo of a CIA assertion, she says
What if the reporters (Dan Eggen and Walter Pincus) had told the White House that they could not use an off-the-record quote? The story might then have read: "White House officials declined to respond." Sure, readers would have gotten a different view –- because of a choice by the White House. A few such references on major stories like this, and some "senior administration officials" just might decide to go on the record.

The chances of the worm turning must be slight. One really needs the combination of an editor and a hack who are both in a state of demob happiness, perhaps on a slow summer weekend. It's druther - but a good one.

  1. The issue has arising a good many times here: for the Times, Al Siegal (March 9), for the Post, Leonard Downie (March 8) might be taken as representative, kinda.


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