26 November 2005

'Scoops' and Truth at the Times

'Scoops' and Truth at the Times:

From the June 5, 2003 issue of The Nation.

"Miller and the Times consented to prepublication approval of her piece by the military. 'Those officials asked that details of what chemicals were uncovered be deleted,' Miller wrote. 'They said they feared that such information could jeopardize the scientist's safety by identifying the part of the weapons program where he worked.' (Why his safety would be in question with Saddam vanquished was not explained.)"


"Miller allows sources to hide their identities in order to advance a self-serving agenda. Using unnamed sources is a common and necessary technique in journalism. But sources should not be allowed to remain unnamed when the information they are imparting serves to directly advance their own and their employers' objectives. In other words, a reporter needs a very good justification for not naming a source--usually because a source is saying something that could get him or her in big trouble with some powerful entity. But what kind of trouble could befall some unnamed Pentagon source who is leaking material in accord with the objectives of the current Administration? The principal motive for remaining under cover in such circumstances, besides preserving deniability, is to gain greater currency for the leaked material, as something that has received the imprimatur of our internationally recognized "newspaper of record," the New York Times."


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