"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Off the Record 

It's too bad that Atrios is no longer tracking the "Ridiculous New York Times Anonymous Source of the Day," because this one would be in line for a Lifetime Achievement Award. In a fascinating article (via my local fishwrap, to avoid registration hassles) about the British government concluding a mere three weeks before the recent bombings that "at present there is not a group with both the current intent and the capability to attack the U.K." - proving that what Al Franken has called "Operation Ignore" is an international venture - we read this truly bizarre passage:
Asked to comment on the document, a senior British official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, "We do not discuss intelligence assessments."

I'm sorry, but does one really need to go on background to say, essentially, "no comment?" And may we assume that the Times policy announced to such fanfare just a bit more than a year ago - "an anonymous source should be used only in situations where the story could not otherwise be reported, and that the reporter should reveal what might motivate that source to speak" - is no longer operative? Inquiring minds want to know.

 

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