Anonymously Quotable Rogue - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Anonymously Quotable Rogue

Joe McGinnis, author of what I thought was a lousy book on Sarah Palin, has published a defense of his use of anonymous sources.

I don’t have a major problem with most of his arguments for the appropriate use of anonymous sources, though he takes the time to casually smear his subject again. “In Alaska,” McGinnis writes, “people refuse to speak on the record about Palin for fear of losing their livelihoods, and threats of violence.” Later he blames Palin and Glenn Beck for the fact he allegedly “received dozens of death threats and thousands of pieces of hate mail.”

 However necessary anonymous sourcing sometimes is — I use it occasionally in my own journalism — the simple fact is readers are going to be suspicious of unsourced quotes. McGinnis’s problem is that he makes a lot of allegations that sound made up, raising questions as to whether he got “the story right.” The more damning a claim, the more substantiation it needs. Maybe he’s right that he needed anonymous quotes to uncover the real story, but if McGinnis thinks it is unreasonable that people are skeptical of book it is he who needs to get real. Readers who don’t already hate the Palins aren’t convinced.

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