Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What's With All These Anonymous Sources? WH Slurs Anthony Weiner

According to Ben Smith at Politico (Politico dot com), an anonymous White House staffer, responding to Rep. Anthony Weiner suggested he should have "manned up" and made a run for New York mayor himself. WTF?

In discussing the closeness of the mayor's race despite Bloomberg's $100+ million in personal funds to purchase the seat, Weiner had commented that if Obama had made one of his trips to New York instead of New Jersey, maybe the Democrat would have won, thus generating the slur from the White House.

I for one am grateful that Rep. Weiner decided to remain in Congress where he remains one of the few outspoken voices in favor of universal health care. Weiner is an outspoken progressive voice and would be a great loss to the Progressive Caucus if he left Washington for local politics.

The larger issue, however, is the continuing use by the MSM of anonymous sources and the requirement by the Administration and other leaders to speak off the record, even when what they have to say does not (or should not) require it. Why exactly, does a comment about Rep. Weiner needing to "man up" need to be anonymous? Would it be embarrassing if attributed to the speaker? Perhaps. Would the speaker get in trouble with the President or someone high up in the Administration? Perhaps. Or maybe the speaker is the President or someone high up in the Administration (although I can't see Ben Smith having that kind of access to the President). So what?

What exactly does "a White House Official" mean? Is it the gatekeeper? Or the Chief of Staff? How do we know? We are so used to reporters citing anonymous sources that we no longer question it. Sources demand anonymity for everything, and are granted it, even when the conditions don't warrant it. And we get slurs coming out of the White House with no attribution that make the Administration look bad (and yes, it is a gender slur - would someone suggest that a woman or a gay man up?).

Thanks for stopping by. Come back soon.
h/t America Blog

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