Sourcing Journalism

About: When anonymous sources disappear entirely

Felix Salmon, a young bloggist, seems to question the semantics of a direct self-sourcing reference & addresses the semantics of the usual unidentified sources. As an aside any automatic news analyzer should be prepared to identify the author or media staff as sole source. Kudos for even thinking about it, Felix!
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12225 is an example of an entire news front with little substance & nobody on the record to provide much.  Panetta, BHO's CIA director, is suspect as he was formerly contradicting Pelosi's assertions that the CIA lied.

Tags

  1. sourcing
  2. news
  3. media
  4. felix
  5. liver transplant

Comments


Mark de LA says
This is a blog, what do you think I'm saying? Neither of us is a reporter with original facts. It is commentary or editorial in nature.  Sometimes I source my own new material like 10488 as a random sample, but most of the time those get ignored.  The famous article on racism 714 was mostly ignored until something touched your beloved Obama.
It would be interesting, but we already know the outcome, to take a circular graph & put the original article in the center, the next tier outside that & follow the blogs on the outer 3 tiers - that would graph the political internet. The truth meter would go down the farther from the center & follow-up items one looks. Politician excitement would probably graph somewhere near the blogs as most politics is poll driven.

Seth says
MR 2009-06-22 10:46:28 12134
seth 2009-06-22 10:28:10 12134
Well i tend to agree with Felix.  Note that when a news outlet with an esteemed reputation reports facts, you do need a source with a similar level of confidence to cast them in doubt.  The WSJ is such a source, bloggers and talking heads are not.  I would like to see bloggers and talking heads start applying a new semantics to their cherry picking of sources ... some kind of semantics that works against the "we can find anything" that supports bias on the internet.
... including your own blog.

... Obviously.  But i almost always state with clear semantics when what i say is my own opinion, or more usually my own speculation.  Occasionally i will state a fact without a source and without the usual "I think" kind of introduction.  Usually that is intentional.  It is as if i am saying, this is common knowledge - and asking if you don't hold it also as common knowledge, why not?   When you state things as facts without sourcing and without indicating it is your opinion or speculation, what are you saying?

Mark de LA says
seth 2009-06-22 10:28:10 12134
Well i tend to agree with Felix.  Note that when a news outlet with an esteemed reputation reports facts, you do need a source with a similar level of confidence to cast them in doubt.  The WSJ is such a source, bloggers and talking heads are not.  I would like to see bloggers and talking heads start applying a new semantics to their cherry picking of sources ... some kind of semantics that works against the "we can find anything" that supports bias on the internet.
... including your own blog.


Mark de LA says
seth 2009-06-22 13:33:45 12134
Yeah its a good idea to trace information from source to blog to blog.  You could also include how the information and its context mutated as it got further and further from its source.  You could also include colors to indicate the usual biases of the various nodes.  It would make an interesting picture indeed!
Maybe.... but no surprise!

Seth says
source: MR above
Personally I like this statement of what the fuss is all about:
wsj: ...

WASHINGTON -- A secret Central Intelligence Agency initiative terminated by Director Leon Panetta was an attempt to carry out a 2001 presidential authorization to capture or kill al Qaeda operatives, according to former intelligence officials familiar with the matter.


...Why is that a surprise to anyone? What would you have the CIA do to our enemies, the ones who attacked the World Trade Center in New York in 2001? Maybe give them foot massages or read them their Miranda Rights?  Plzzzz.....
Well now that is an example of the kind of sourcing from the very same journal that blogger named in the topic complains about.  
source: Felix from Reuters Blogs
The WSJ is notorious for using the exact same formula in substantially all of its stories which don’t have named sources: “according to people familiar with the matter”. Since no one would ever knowingly report a story based on information from people unfamiliar with the matter, this formula has exactly zero utility for readers.
But yes it would be interesting to finally find out what this is all about.  A casual reader might think that it is about the torture program but there is enough testimony to suggest that it was something quite different.  But what was so special about it that Chaney couldn't brief congressional learders about it.  Me don't think that captering and killing Al Queda operatives qualifies as all that very special.

Mark de LA says
seth 2009-07-13 08:41:21 12134
source: MR above
[item 12225] is an example of an entire news front with little substance & nobody on the record to provide much.
That is just not true.  Feinstein is on record.  Panetta is on record, he is the head of the CIA. 
source: NYT
Ms. Feinstein, a Democrat of California, said on “Fox News Sunday” that Mr. Panetta had told senators last month about Mr. Cheney ordering that the program not be disclosed to Congress.
Sure we don't know which of Panetta's employees brought the situation to Panetta, but nothing would change even if we knew that.  What we don't know is the nature of the program which Chaney didn't want Congress to know about.  That's what i want to know, just out of purient interest. 

Thing is, certainly all covert projects that are in the planning stage should not be disclosed to Congressional leaders.  In that regard I wonder what all the fuss is about.
Personally I like this statement of what the fuss is all about:
wsj: ...

WASHINGTON -- A secret Central Intelligence Agency initiative terminated by Director Leon Panetta was an attempt to carry out a 2001 presidential authorization to capture or kill al Qaeda operatives, according to former intelligence officials familiar with the matter.


...Why is that a surprise to anyone? What would you have the CIA do to our enemies, the ones who attacked the World Trade Center in New York in 2001? Maybe give them foot massages or read them their Miranda Rights?  Plzzzz.....


Mark de LA says
-snip-.  Me don't think that captering and killing Al Queda operatives qualifies as all that very special.
In the matter of terrorism, what is the CIA supposed to do, eh? Again, because most of what the CIA does is classified this is all a cluster-fuck.  We will never know. We will have droves of pontificating politicians be surprised that the CIA would be used to kill & capture terrorists without first getting a politician's approval on each one. If you got anything out of the 9-11 Report & movie you should have gotten that Osama Bin Laden was within our grasp, but politics and refusal to OK prevented getting the job done during the Clinton administration.  Thus 9-11 happened.  Here we go again!


Mark de LA says
BTW, just what are those Predators doing in Pakistan & Afganistan now that Osama moved there? Does congress approve each target?

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