New Mexico Radio Station Won't Use 'Unnamed Officials' Quotes in News
Here is a refreshing change of pace. According to Editor and Publisher, New Mexico Radio station KSFR has made a new policy to eschew usage of newswire stories based on quotes from "unnamed officials" or other unattributed sources.
News director Bill Dupuy sent the following message to his news staff:
Effectively immediately and until further notice, it is the policy of KSFR's news department to ignore and not repeat any wire service or nationally published story about Iran, China, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia or any other foreign power that quotes an "unnamed" U.S. official.Though I disagree that these "unnamed" sources in any way added to any "credibility" to take us to war -- it was rather the opposite, really -- the unnamed source has become the scourge of government. So, this is a great idea and would cut down on the kind of destructive leaks that have so consumed the "News" purveyors of late.
What we have suspected and talked about at length before is now becoming clear. "High administration officials speaking on the condition of anonymity," "Usually reliable Washington sources," and others of the like were behind the publicity that added credibility to the need to go to war against Afghanistan and Iraq.
Our news department covers local news. But, like local newspapers and others, we occasionally are taken in by national stories that we have no way to verify.
This is a small news department with a small reach. We cannot research these stories ourselves. But we can take steps not to compromise our integrity. We should not dutifully parrot whatever comes out of Washington, on the wire or by whatever means, no matter how intriguing and urgent it sounds, when the source is unnamed.
I am also calling on our colleagues in other local news departments -- broadcast and print -- to take the same professional approach.
Eliminating the over use of unattributed stories would help cut down on the interagency feuds that have been ripping Washington apart since at least Watergate -- though it has gotten far worse since Bush entered the White House.
So, even as i disagree with the Radio station news director in what unnamed sources have done specifically, I agree in general that it is destructive and should be minimized. I say this to you MSM news "reporters" (and we KNOW you read Newsbusters, don't pretend you don't):
If you are so sure your story is legitimate, put a name to your sources. If they refuse to be named, that should be your first clue that the source has an agenda that doesn't hold "truth" as one of its end games.
Remember the basic tenets of journalism: who, what, where and when.
Who is not an unnamed requirement!