How Anonymous Accusers Become ‘Unnamed Sources’

This is just ludicrous.

Now a blogger that published an accusation of criminal activity is being compared to an investigative journalist?
Oh, and not only that, we’re all being told that the accuser should be referred to as an unnamed source and then proceeds to use, as an analogy, Watergate. I really see this at best an imperfect analogy because before Woodward and Bernstein published their first story, they had to be able to validate what they were told by Deep Throat;
developing other sources that could confirm the information given to them. Even though these sources were also unnamed, it gave the Washington Post enough confidence for them to publish the first of many stories that ended as we all know, with Nixon resigning the Presidency.
Again note that they had multiple sources. They didn’t just take a single source for the allegations being made and rush to print. That’s why I really don’t see this analogy as being very good. Let me give it a try though and you tell me whether mine is, a bit closer to what has recently happened.
Fast forward to 2005. Newsweek printed a story about the military flushing a Qur’an down a toilet that sparked riots throughout the Middle East. This story was based on a single, unnamed military source, and Newsweek later had to retract the story because it was determined to be false. This is what happens when there is a rush to publish without verifying the information first.
I know that my analogy is imperfect as well, because it concerns something completely different than the original accusation made and that the only way to have a perfect analogy is to find an accusation of a high profile person, accused of the same crime, that turned out to be false. If you know of one, please feel free to let me know in the comments. I don’t claim to be a journalist so I’m not going to spend hours/days looking for an apples-to-apples comparison.
But before I end this, I want to get back to the person making the accusation as being an unnamed source. First and foremost, if the story is true(and I’m not saying it isn’t) the person that is making this allegation of rape is a victim. That’s where the description should end. The police for instance don’t refer to crime victims as unnamed sources, so why are some people trying this tactic now?
As I’ve said before, this is an anonymous accusation. Nothing more, nothing less and before any of us attempt to defend either the accused or the accuser, we should let the justice system run it’s course. Let’s stop dropping grenades on both sides of this controversy until then.

Leave a Reply