Jack Shafer

If you must quote anonymous sources, make sure they say something!

By Jack Shafer
August 14, 2014

A decade ago, both the Washington Post and the New York Times conceded that they had lost control of the use of anonymous sources in their pages and each set up new guidelines to police the practice.

Who to believe? The Times’s anonymous sources or the Journal’s?

By Jack Shafer
June 19, 2014

U.S. President Obama speaks about the situation in Iraq at the White House

The New York Times and Wall Street Journal staked mutually exclusive territories on Wednesday in their coverage of the Obama administration’s plans to arrest or temper the Sunni militant rampage in Iraq, the essence of which was captured in their headlines.

The source may be anonymous, but the shame is all yours

By Jack Shafer
June 16, 2014

 Bob Woodward, former Washington Post reporter, discusses about Watergate Hotel burglary and stories for the Post at Richard Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda

Twice over the past two weeks, New York Times reporters got taken for long rides by anonymous sources who ultimately dropped them off at the corner of Mortified and Peeved.

Who gets to be anonymous?

By Jack Shafer
November 9, 2011

Yesterday, The Daily was first to name Karen Kraushaar as one of the two women who worked with Herman Cain at the National Restaurant Association and accused him of sexual harassment. As the Poynter Institute’s Kelly McBride wrote, Business Insider and the Daily Caller repeated the Daily‘s report that Kraushaar had made the sexual harassment claim, and NPR got her to confirm her identity as “Woman A.” Shortly thereafter, Kraushaar was talking to the New York Times, and the whole world knew who she was.

When anonymice attack

By Jack Shafer
October 19, 2011

Washington’s anonymous sources are disagreeing with one another today.

In the lead story in today’s New York Times (“U.S. Debated Cyberwarfare in Attack Plan on Libya”), the anonymous sources tell reporters Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker that the issue of whether or not to attack Libya with cyberweapons was “intensely debated” by the Obama administration last March.

Bloggy Monday: McGinniss’s anonymous sources; Netflix switcheroo; ask an expert; FOIA turnaround.

By Jack Shafer
October 10, 2011

Alaskan anonymice. Joe McGinniss got knocked by reviewers—me included—for relying so heavily on anonymous sources for his new book, The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin. Today he strikes back at his critics in the opinion pages of USA Today, citing Bob Woodward, New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson, and Huffington Post media reporter Michael Calderone on why journalists must get anonymice to squeak about the powerful if they’re going to get the story.