The Washington Post’s Anonymous Sources

The Washington Post’s Anonymous Sources

In the midst of trying to figure out whether Comey is a hero or a villain for Democrats, Washington Post puts out a story that says Comey’s decision to go public and re-open the Hillary investigation was based on “bad Russian intelligence” (https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/how-a-dubious-russian-document-influenced-the-fbis-handling-of-the-clinton-probe/2017/05/24/f375c07c-3a95-11e7-9e48-c4f199710b69_story.html?utm_term=.f698d5d074c5). This is an obvious attempt to continue to use the Red Scare scapegoat to save some face for Comey. Even if it were true, it would only offer more justification for Trump to fire Comey as he is incapable of differentiating good intelligence from bad intelligence. It’s reaching comical proportions.

But then comes the kicker from Washington Post. This story is, like every other story in the endless anti-Trump hit-piece parade, coming from anonymous sources. I’ve already made it clear in a previous article (Washington Post Is Out Of Control) that Greg Miller and Greg Jaffe’s hitpiece on Trump revealing classified info to Russian diplomats is too shaky of a story to be taken credibly, especially since the accusation is printed while the Washington Post cowers behind anonymous sources. As Christopher Hitchens used to say when discussing religion: “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”. Not only is there zero evidence of the Trump-Russia collusion, but the claim that is being made is extraordinary. If it were true that Trump had revealed highly sensitive information to Russian diplomats, the sources at the Washington Post would have an obligation to go public to see justice done. It’s a cowardly game the Washington Post is playing, which only compounds my belief that Washington Post is either being duped or fabricating these sources entirely.

This is a tipping point for political journalism. Anonymous sources have long been used in political journalism with only the altruistic mantra of protecting the flow of information in mind. This type of journalism, while no longer practiced, was mostly conducted in good faith. The Washington Post represents a media outlet that no longer respects the rules of good journalism. Any and all good faith and public trust that was accumulated through decades of quality reporting using anonymous sources is now gone. Washington Post has greedily and foolishly exploited this technicality to the point where it no longer has any meaning nor any credibility. A generation ago, the public might have regarded political reporting predicated on “anonymous sources” as being the product of hard work. Thanks to the Washington Post, this is no longer the case. Anonymous Sources might as well be synonymous with “fake news”.

The onus is on The Washington Post to, at the very least, deliver some information of consequence if they are going to continue to mass produce alarming revelations behind the shield of anonymous sources. The information that has been published is of zero significance. It hasn’t done any real damage to President Trump. Instead, it has raised serious questions about whom is doing the alleged “leaking”, and it has turned the Washington Post into a political tabloid. Personally, I think it is mostly a ruse that isn’t worth taking seriously. At this point I am convinced that, based on the number of hitpieces they overzealously crank out daily, The Washington Post is nothing more than a bunch of nitwit interns blogging all day.

If Washington Post is going to continue to use “anonymous sources” as a shield for their hit pieces, then it is truly the death of altruistic journalism. Any and all media outlets will eventually follow suit, writing whatever the hell they want and saying they have a journalistic obligation to protect their precious anonymous sources. Every political pundit in America has become New Republic’s nefarious Stephen Glass. Even Buzzfeed…BUZZFEED, OF ALL HACKS…piled on with a hitpiece stating Trump revealed submarine locations, using anonymous sources (https://www.buzzfeed.com/nancyyoussef/the-pentagon-is-facepalming-hard-over-trumps-disclosure-of?utm_term=.ftyJJ5DeE#.xuMyyvO5K). It’s unbelievable for a multitude of reasons.

It honestly might be time to tighten the rules of journalism in order to adjust to the effect of social media on journalism. Because we have no way of evaluating the individual credibility of an anonymous source, any political story that uses an anonymous source likewise can not be evaluated for credibility. The time has come for the journalism world to force a distinction to be made between actual factual reporting with verifiable sources and hit pieces that shield their garbage behind anonymous sources. While this might cause quite a stir among the media, many of whom will undoubtedly whine and moan about the need to protect sources, their argument no longer holds water in thanks to the precedent set by The Washington Post. Anyone can print anything…no matter how alarming, damning, sensational, yellow, or criminal…with two little words: Sources say. It is a dangerous precedent indeed, and it is the true genesis of Fake News.

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