One reader’s reaction

I got a call this evening from one of my closest friends.   He said I just read your blog and “…I disagree with you…”   It became clear that he was talking about yesterday’s blog slugged, “Police speak.”   I didn’t intend to take a position…only to explain what sometimes goes on behind the scenes when police and reporters interact.  My friend feels strongly that reporters should not use information unless they name the source in their stories.   He would have no more, “….a source close to the scene”, “…a reliable source tells us….”  and the myriad of other phrases reporters use to get the information out there without revealing their source.   This issue has been debated in academic forums and probably every day in TV, radio and print-media newsrooms.   The example most used to support those phrases that shield the source is “Deep Throat”.   Would Richard Nixon ever have declared, “…your President is not a crook…” without reporters willingness to accept, confirm and use information from “Deep Throat” without revealing his name.     Would “Whistle-Blowers” be willing to give reporters information that can be confirmed without assurances of anonymity?     As I told my friend, I  believer reporters ought always to learn the motives of their sources.  They particularly should be wary during the political season when candidates or their minions try to manipulate journalists.   My  friend thinks that nothing should be reported without naming the source.  I’m guessing his perfect world will never exist.

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