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View Diary: Americans react to the death of Osama bin Laden (232 comments)

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  •  I wish the press would stop (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sethtriggs, IM

    giving anonymous sources the opportunity to air their propaganda, when said sources are supporting the institution to which they belong.  There is no journalistically upstanding rationale to let them do that.

    Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

    by Simplify on Sun May 01, 2011 at 11:53:31 PM PDT

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    •  From all I've heard so far Pakistan gov did very (4+ / 0-)

      little to help. In fact since his compound was in the middle of a large city, his location was probably known by some in the Pak. Gov and military.

      Progressives will win when we convince a majority that they, too, are Progressive.

      by auapplemac on Mon May 02, 2011 at 12:17:34 AM PDT

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    •  These were NOT anonymous sources... (16+ / 0-)

      ...These were senior officials speaking publicly, one after another, on background before a number of reporters. Scores (perhaps more) of reporters/bloggers, including two from Daily Kos, listened by phone. A few questions were asked. The only proviso was that they could not be identified, even though everybody in the room knows who they are.

      There is a perfectly reasonable and ethical journalistic rationale for such background reporting that dates back 50 years.

      Don't tell me what you believe. Tell me what you do and I'll tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Mon May 02, 2011 at 01:57:39 AM PDT

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      •  More than fifty years. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Glic, divineorder, Miss Blue

        As with a number of things done in government there are good reasons about which many today seem absolutely clueless, or just disingenuous. "On background" by "senior officials," particularly in intelligence related fields, known to reporters but otherwise unidentified is one.

        Just look at so many reactions to shield laws that actually make it possible for ordinary citizens to work in government functions for another example. None of us could afford to work for any level of government if we faced personal liability and the cost of defending ourselves for every one of the many actions per day about which someone in our litigious society could haul us into court. Deny a school transfer, even if justified, and end up losing a small fortune in defense fees. Goodbye public schools.

        The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

        by pelagicray on Mon May 02, 2011 at 03:36:37 AM PDT

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      •  They're anonymous to us readers (0+ / 0-)

        If one of the anonymous officials says something that turns out to be false or misleading, will any of the reporters out that official, or even refuse to use that official or his/her superiors as a source anymore?

        I think the answer is no, and therefore more hoodwinking along the lines of WMD, the Jessica Lynch story, the Pat Tillman story, etc. is bound to happen.

        Some of the elements in the official story are believable but quite convenient for the administration:  some of the relevant intel came out of Guantanamo, the only woman shot was used as a human shield by a terrorist, bin Laden refused to be taken alive, etc.

        I would propose a standard of anonymity only if the individual were providing information critical of the institution he or she represents.  If it's the institution itself that would face negative consequences from on-the-record release of the information, tough beans.

        Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

        by Simplify on Mon May 02, 2011 at 11:45:36 AM PDT

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        •  Retracting the Guantanamo bit (0+ / 0-)

          That was from a different source, the Wikileaks USA State Dept. cables that the NYT reported on recently.

          Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

          by Simplify on Mon May 02, 2011 at 12:29:09 PM PDT

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        •  Disallowing "on background" sessions... (0+ / 0-)

          ...means that information will simply not be provided. It's up to reporters — as is always the case — to dig beyond what the government sources (identified or not) tell them. Just as it is when any source tells them something.

          Over the past few years, I've had many people tell me that using any anonymous sources is unethical and should never ever happen. I can give you a long long list of stories that would never have been broken over the past century if anonymous sources could not be used.

          Don't tell me what you believe. Tell me what you do and I'll tell you what you believe.

          by Meteor Blades on Mon May 02, 2011 at 06:08:02 PM PDT

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