Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

BREAKING: An Anonymous Source Said Stuff

Like lemmings to the sea, the blogsphere is all abuzz because a bunch of people are reporting anonymous sources are saying the White House wants a trigger in the final bill to keep Senator Olympia Snowe’s vote.

Of course the White House denies this, and Valerie Jarrett is on record saying so, but those anonymous sources; Senior Democratic aides, Senate staffers “familiar” with a meeting, keep saying otherwise.

And journalists, in their never ending desire to sell newspaper and bring traffic to their site, are running with their journalistic malpractice of making stories without independent confirmation, just anonymous sources, reminding me once again why I want out of the journalism business.

It wouldn’t surprise me that most of the blogsphere today never sat in a Journalism 101 class in college, because if they did, they would not be throwing fire around because of anonymous sources, they’d be asking the reporters to give them indepedent confirmation, on record confirmation, of these stories.

It wouldn’t surprise me because the blogsphere has an agenda, and if anonymous sources are agreeing with their point of view, then to hell with journalism, I got an anonymous source.

As a former journalist, let me explain how anonymous sources work…when you get an anonymous sources, they give you what’s called a tip…this tip is unconfirmed information you use to continue your investigation. You look for confirmation from someone you can put on record, or some document, or something you can use to back up the anonymous source. When you find said confirmation, you run with it, with a line like;

“A senior aid said; “X” which was confirmed by Y” or “A memo leaked from the White House confirms what anonymous sources told XNews”

You don’t run to print with just anonymous sources like everyone in the past few days has done…unless, of course, your goal is to trigger outrage or make the leadership look incompetent…or you want to watch people draw their own ridiculous conclusions;

This morning, we hear reports that Obama will support whichever ‘public’ plan first receives 60 supporters, whether this be the ‘triggered’ public option or the opt-out.  It is hard to read this statement as anything other than a thinly-veiled expression of his preference for the trigger, at least at this stage of the process.

Like saying, this morning it’s cloudy, therefore it is hard to read this as anything but the sky being white.

In the meantime as not-so-subtle threats of primary challengers, and PUMA’s doing their “I told you so” dance suck up the oxygen on the internet over the weekend, the White House and Senate leadership are tirelessly working, like every government in the past has, lining up votes for a bill.

Maybe if the netroots didn’t find themselves in a coniption over ever little anonymous source, maybe they’d have more sway with Rahm Emanuel. Because if I were White House Chief of Staff, I sure as hell would be ignoring them right now.  


  1. You beat me to it. I’ve been getting a little tired of reading all these “anonymous source said…” BS. Maybe that’s because I did take Journalism 101 in college. 🙂

  2. Hollede

    Is when the MSM starts acting like this in order to be the first out with the story. For instance, using the Drudge report as an actual news source.

  3. fogiv

    Three days ago Harry Reid was the biggest weenus on the planet (according to left blogistan).  Today, he’s friggin’ Conan the Destroyer because ‘unamed sources’ suggest he’s standing strong against Obama’s secret desire (WE KNEWZ IT ALL ALONG) to kill the public option and make reform a giveaway to big insurance.

    I have seen the enemy, and he is us.

  4. Shaun Appleby

    That we finally have a President who understands the powers and responsibilities of the respective branches of government.  If that’s ’11th-dimensional chess’ in the popular idiom than so be it.

    The Obama administration has always taken the stand that the outcome of significant health care reform in some form or another is their objective, for them to have guided this perilous process to the point we are at today seems a more sincere fulfilment of their campaign promise than the heroic failure of a reform attempt with specific features that appeal to progressives but are apparently out of reach of the current Democratic legislative majority, such as it is.

    If that positions me outside of the ‘progressive’ spectrum, with it’s combative loyalty to ideologically sound but unattainable objectives, than so be it.  My only concern is that the Obama folks have wrung every last bit of goodness from the opportunities presented.  From the heated debate over the specifics of health care policy at this critical juncture and the hair-splitting going on in both houses of Congress I am fairly confident they have gauged their positions carefully but for maximum effect.

    If there is daylight for our Democratic legislators to get out in front of the executive on the public option all the better.

  5. HappyinVT

    Over the weekend I did get a bit concerned 🙂 about the apparent number of sources who were making the same claim.  Then it occurred to me that there surely had to be some overlap in sources.  Plus, why wasn’t there one person who would speak on the record if so many people knew what was going on.

    Then, White House spokesman, Dan Pfeiffer, issues two statements calling the story false but the meme was out there and no one wanted to believe an actual named person.  Because, apparently, Obama and/or Rahm has a not-so-secret hard-on for Olympia Snowe and he’s willing to go against the Senate Majority Leader to keep her onboard.

  6. lojasmo

    That I don’t care what watered down version we get.

    Compared to true universal (read single payer) coverage, there is little difference to me whether it’s an opt-out which doesn’t start until 2013, or a trigger which takes place in 2013.  

    All the hand-wringing on the part of the left (Kucinich, bruh3 etc) is little better than the lunatic raving of beck and those other douchebags.

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