Recalling that The Washington Post has new new guidelines regarding the use of anonymous sources, we have these two examples from today’s paper:
In the lead story about Bush’s decision to allow national security advisor Condoleezza Rice to testify, we have this: “‘The president’s aides finally realized that the most important element of this president retaining power was for him to remain president,’ said the political adviser, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because Bush’s inner circle does not like to discuss deliberations.”
What’s next “…who spoke on condition of anonymity because they don’t like to talk to reporters”? I suppose the quote is supposed to be sarcastic: “…the most important element of this president retaining power was for him to remain president.” So the source is suggesting that Rice not testifying would have meant the end to the Bush presidency? Neither the aides nor the source look all that smart to me, and I’m not sure the quote adds much but sarcasm.
Then in the story about Bush’s negative ads, we have: “‘I don’t think [Kerry’s] personal campaigning skills are anywhere near President Clinton’s, and second, you had the factor there in Ross Perot that was eating away at Bush’s base and weakening him,’ said this adviser, who asked for anonymity as a condition of discussing Bush’s strategy more freely.”
Again, if that’s OK, what’s to stop a source from disparaging someone anonymously under the “condition of discussing Bush’s strategy more freely.”
I’m not sure what these new guidelines are supposed to accomplish.