Why did the New York Times grant anonymity to two sources yesterday who were merely speculating on the idea of Edward Snowden sharing sensitive information with the Chinese government?
Here is the article:
"China Said to Have Made Call to Let Leaker Depart"
By: @JanePerlez and @KeithBradsher
Quote: "Two Western intelligence experts, who worked for major government spy agencies, said they believed that the Chinese government had managed to drain the contents of the four laptops that Mr. Snowden said he brought to Hong Kong, and that he said were with him during his stay at a Hong Kong hotel."This report is curious for multiple reasons. First, the NY Times 'Confidential News Sources Policy' states:
"We do not grant anonymity to people who are engaged in speculation, unless the very act of speculating is newsworthy and can be clearly labeled for what it is."The use of the word "believed" in this instance can only mean that these statements are purely speculative. For the record, their policy also states:
"In any situation when we cite anonymous sources, at least some readers may suspect that the newspaper is being used to convey tainted information or special pleading. If the impetus for anonymity has originated with the source, further reporting is essential to satisfy the reporter and the reader that the paper has sought the whole story."On that note, I feel further reporting is certainly required.
Second, there is also little reason to omit the specific country from which these sources originate. The term "Western" seems like an unnecessary lack of specificity unless they simply weren't from the United States and no one wanted to say that. I believe the distinction is important given that U.S. agencies are directly involved in Snowden's case. For that matter, how is printing the names of the "major government spy agencies" these sources allegedly work for detrimental to their protective status?
As an alleged beacon of respectable journalism if the New York Times is going to make wild allegations about the alleged sensitive information Edward Snowden may be transporting and then print accusations about China and Russia attaining said information, at the very least they should be less vague about where these speculations are coming from.