Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's Tim Graham spends a Dec. 10 post huffing about the use of anonymous sources by the news media, this time complaining about how, in his words, "The Washington Postenjoys playing the game “Heads We Win, Tails You Lose” when anonymous sources lead journalists into looking stupid" in defending CNN's use of anonymous sources in a story that later had to be corrected. Let the huffing begin (boldface is his):
But here’s the “heads we win” part: since the sources are still anonymous, there can be no “evidence” -- unless either the sources or the source-exploiters own up to their little secret racket. We are prevented from knowing these are “Democratic sources” – most likely, because they’re Democratic sources, and that would make the story look more -- to use the Post term -- “vocally partisan.”
The “tails you lose” part is when the Post hides all their conservative-hating sources’ identities and then boasts the motto “Democracy dies in darkness.” The Post surely believes reporters are never manipulated by “puppet masters.” They’re always the smartest people in the room. Until it becomes obvious they trusted someone to just read them an email without looking at it themselves. That’s not what smart people do.
As @JohnSalmon859 tweeted: “Either CNN ‘got played’ - or it was purposeful. Trump Jr's being charitable here.” But in CNN's excuse-making, absolutely everyone had the best intentions, their journalists and their sources. The spin is furious, but not convincing.
It will not surprise you to learn that Graham has a double standard on the subject of anonmous sources in news stories. As we've docutmented, just before the 2016 election, Fox News heavily pushed a story -- sourced only to "two separate sources with intimate knowledge of the FBI investigations into the Clinton e-mails and the Clinton Foundation" -- suggesting that an indictment of Hillary Clinton was imminent and that her email server had been hacked. The MRC hyped this story to the point that MRC chief Brent Bozell himself ranted about the "media cover-up" and declared, "We will report developments on this continuing cover-up every hour from here on out."
One of those developments, however, turned out to be that the story was bogus; Fox News anchor Bret Baier, who first reported the story, retracted his claims. Not only wasn't Graham concern-trolling about how poor Fox News got burned by anonymous sources, the MRC never bothered to correct the story it had been relentlessly hyping despite Bozell's promise to report developments "every hour."
So, Tim, spare us your fake concern. If you actually cared about journalism, you wouldn't be exempting Fox News from criticism for doing the same thing you've bashed others for doing.