17 Jul 2004 Good Reporting Versus Being First With the Story
From the New York Times’ “9/11 Panel’s Report to Offer New Evidence of Iran-Qaeda Ties“:
The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the embargo placed by the commission on discussing the report until its release, said…
No, they were not speaking anonymously because of the embargo, they were speaking anonymously because they did not want anyone to know it was they who had spoken. Had they been motivated by the embargo itself, they would not have broken it.
The public would be better served if the news media did not run so many stories with anonymous sources. Ask yourself: Would we be better off seeing these facts (assuming they are true) slightly later (five days from now) in the context of the full report or immediately, out of context and delivered to us by people with a secret agenda whose names we are not permitted to know?
You can bet the New York Times didn’t ask itself this.