Topic: Accuracy in Media
A May 22 AIM Report by Wes Vernon takes contradictory stands on the idea of anonymous sources. As part of AIM's factually dubious war on Washington Post reporter Dana Priest and her article on secret CIA detention facilities in Europe, Vernon first dismissed Priest's story because it was "based completely on anonymous sources," adding that the story "has not been confirmed."
But later, in coming to the defense of Rep. Curt Weldon over his claims regarding the "Able Danger" intelligence program, takes a different tone on anonymous sources and lack of smoking-gun evidence. Vernon dismissed a Philadelphia Inquirer article questioning Weldon's claim that the Soviets buried dozens of suitcase-size nuclear devices in the U.S. during the Cold War: "So the Inquirer essentially casts doubts on the 'suitcase nukes' charge based on the failure to find a needle in a haystack." Vernon also notes that "Among those who came to the congressman's defense was Lowell L. Wood, Jr., who has outstanding credentials in science"; Vernon wrote that "Wood added that 'a fundamental adage' in the 'always imperfect' intelligence business is that 'the absence of evidence isn't the evidence of absence.'"
Vernon also defends Weldon's use of an anonymous source to back up his claims:
The Philadelphia Inquirer's March 15 hit pieces include the name of someone they claim was "Ali." Weldon says, "I have not and will not identify [my source]." Curiously, the media seem oblivious to the possibility they may have put the man's life in danger.
AIM needs to make up its mind about a few things and not judge them by how well they support conservative talking points.