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05/06/2004

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Brad Rourke

Another great piece, Mark. I share your amused frustration at the complicity of the press in the unnamed-source-spin game. A couple of cycles back, the Akron Beacon Journal tried an interesting approach to the problem in their local and Congressional election coverage: they refused to take quotes from anyone bu the candidate. No press secretaries, no campaign managers, nuthin'. If the candidate couldn't be moved to make a comment, then the candidate would not have one in the story. The uproar on the part of the campaigns was palpable -- and the experiment did not last. I do not know whether it was because of the uproar, or whether the reporter who instigated it moved on (my details are slightly fuzzy).

Imagine if the Post only took comments from prinicpals and only printed anonymous quotes if they were clearly minority views in opposition to the official line?

Stirling Newberry

I know you don't need any more praise heaped on you. But this post is a classic.

Put a link to it on your front page, it will be as timely a month, or a year, from now as it is today.

Rebecca Allen, PhD

You obviously haven't heard about the recent press gathering that Bush spoke to. The biggest applause line was when Bush vowed to permanently eliminate the estate tax. That tells you everything you need to know about the modern corporate press. These guys are wealthy people who are primarily invested in protecting their interests, not in doing their jobs. So they're quite willing to be used by the administration; to refuse might jeopardize their careers, and thus their perks.

Neil Sinhababu

Yeah, I wonder what's going on when I see quotes like these. Are the reporters nonpartisan pushovers who dumbly allow themselves to be conduits for anonyspin? Or does a shared political ideology move them to help out the McClellans and Kissingers of the world?

Matt McIrvin

Didn't the NYT recently run a correction saying that the source of some quote was a government official who asked not to be identified, not Condoleezza Rice?

Melody Brown, J.D.

So insightful. This anominity is so confusing. The Bush administration labels the "media" as "liberal" but yet the media has played its part in the descension of any moral authority we [the U.S.] might have had, emphasizing "might."

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