Jim Fletcher writes in his March 15 WorldNetDaily column:
Yahoo News! Reported recently on the Sarah Palin stand-up appearance on whatever show Jay Leno is hosting now. One can YouTube the performance, and it appears to be a pretty funny routine by a media-savvy politician, Palin.
The reporter for Yahoo, however, no doubt is a left-leaning Democrat. Note the following statement, after some description of Palin's performance:
"Still, there are some who suspect that Jay Leno's staff 'added both applause and laughter in postproduction' to make the appearance look like more of a success."
You're ahead of me, I hope. You get it, don't you? The phrase "some who suspect" is probably as old in journalism as the first Sumerian cuneiform broadsheets. The phrase really means, "I'm making this part up to justify my criticism of this individual."
"Some who suspect" is a magic bullet, because those "anonymous" sources can't be tracked down to see in fact if anyone did this.
Palin goes from a fairly funny public figure to just another phony right-winger.
It's an effective tactic used by leftists in the media.
And it's still wrong.
Fletcher might have a point if the Yahoo! article was presented as a news story. But it wasn't -- it appears in a "week in review" post on Yahoo's Buzz Log blog. Unless Fletcher is holding blogs to the same standards as professional reporters, he has no point.
Further, the words "some who suspect" in the Yahoo! post are linked to a Seattle Weekly blog post in which an actual named person makes the allegation that the laugher for Palin was canned.
Also, Fletcher didn't have to go so far to find anonymous sources and "some say" claims: WND is infested with them. As we've detailed, WND reporter Aaron Klein -- whom Fletcher lionized just a couple weeks ago -- is a frequent user of anonymous sources, even granting anonymity to terrorists. Indeed, a March 14 article by Klein builds yet another claim around an anonymous source, that "a member of the U.S. government" met with Israeli activists who are agitating to build a Jewish temple on Jerusalem's Temple Mount, currently the site of an Muslim mosque. He writes: "The organizer talked on condition of anonymity and also on condition that WND kept confidential the name of the U.S. official who met with the Temple event planners."
And here's Joseph Farah himself invoking the "some say" hedge:
Some people say it's not important where Barack Obama was born. Some think the Constitution is just an archaic old document – or worse, that it's a "living document," one that changes meaning over time.
Why do Klein and Farah get a pass when a blogger doesn't? After all,bogus anonymity is just as effective a tactic when used by the right-wingers at WND.