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Saturday, March 03, 2012

I ask the Washington Post a question.

As a comment on this article, I posted

In this articles sources are quoted without being named "Sources say", "a Republican aide", "Both Democrats and Republicans say that those votes suggest", "another Republican aid", and "Democrats counter."

My understanding was that it is Washington Post policy to grant anonymity only for good reason *and* to always describe the reason anonymity was granted. When was the policy changed ? Could you Rachel Weiner provide a link to the new policy which explains why this article doesn't blatantly violate Washington Post policy as that policy is described to the public ?

I note that "both Democrats and Republicans" were granted anonymity so that they could express their shared theory as to why Senators voted as they did. Since sources granted anonymity were talking about what the data "suggest" (your word) it is hard to see how they could be characterized as whistle blowers. Would thinking on the job really cause them to risk being fired ?

To be frank, I think the Washington Post has decided to lie to its readers claiming to have one policy when it has a completely different policy. Of course if I missed the announcement that the policy has been completely utterly 100% changed, I apologize.

OK now that it's posted, I will google.

This is pretty recent. It gives no hint as to what the Washington Post policy is (it refers to the policy but does not provide a link).

I go back from Romanesko to Washington Post Ombudsman Andrew Alexander.

Staff-written news blogs are replete with violations of The Post's long-established and laudable standards governing confidential sources. These unnamed sources often are cited without providing readers with even a hint of their reliability or why they were granted anonymity.

This makes it clear that the alleged policy requires explaining why they were granted anonymity.

Obviously the true policy includes no such requirement as is dramatically demonstrated by, you guessed it, The Washington Post ombudsman (not Alexander but the newer Patrick Pexton)

"And, I, too, see cautionary notes about Vargas that might have led to Brauchli’s decision. He left behind a reputation in The Post’s newsroom for being tenacious and talented but also for being a relentless self-promoter whom many colleagues didn’t trust. Editors said that he needed direction, coaching and constant watching."

I got this from Romanesko who got it from Adam Penenberg.

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