The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes
Monday, June 06, 2005
Anonymous sources: quality weaseling from the Times
In a post-Deep Throat piece in USA Today, we get a kiss-off gem of studied ambiguity from the New York Times' executive editor Bill Keller:
I don't think we're in imminent danger of cutting off our air supply. I'm not aware of any instance where we have missed a story of significance because we pressed to get sources on the record.
Just like the Newsweek piece on Koran-flushing (at least, according to Jack Shafer (May 26)), the Keller quote is to be parsed rather than read.
Keller is saying that the Times never jeopardises the story through an over-nice sensibility about anonymity - and winking to the initiated as he says it. He's telling us what we already know, of course. And having fun tweaking his critics' tails in the process.
(I am, of course, assuming that USA Today got their quote right.)
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