I am all for journalists using anonymous sources in appropriate circumstances, like when they are unable to obtain important information otherwise for stories that hold government accountable. But The Washington Post‘s Dan Balz, in an election “analysis” piece (not labeled as such, at least on the Web site) that discusses whether President Bush is a boon or a drag on the Republican ticket, unnecessarily and annoyingly grants anonymity to a source.
Why in the world is a Republican strategist so important to a story that he must be given anonymity to get his honest views? Surely there are other knowledgeable conservatives out there who would be willing to say something similar.
What’s worse about this is “mainstream” newspapers like The Post and The New York Times often will find one or two moderate or liberal Republicans (like Christopher Shays, Lindsay Graham, John McCain — you know the usual suspects), get them to say something negative about the president or about the party, and then portray it as legitimate rebellion or a trend within the party that is disturbing to its leadership.
So in this case, the anonymity of the GOP “strategist” enlightens no one. Where is this person in the Republican tent? Is he (or she) a mainstreamer? A conservative? A liberal? A malcontent? I guess we’ll never know.