Anonymous Confessions

Today, David M. Halbfinger provides an unintentionally comic twist in The New York Times pin-the-tail-on-the-anonymous-source game.

In the fourth paragraph of his coverage on the John Kerry and Ralph Nader meeting Halbfinger includes a harmless quote from a “a Kerry aide who attended the meeting but refused to be quoted by name”:

[Nader] made more the point that he had the ability to go after Bush in ways that we could not. He did not at all say to Kerry, ‘I’m here to make you better on things.’ That was not his tone at all.”

Kerry employs phalanx of aides, so the source isn’t immediately obvious. But later on, Halbfinger tells us, “The two men each brought two aides to the meeting: Mary Beth Cahill and Steve Elmendorf, the Kerry campaign manager and her deputy.”

Sometimes, anonymity just isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.


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Thomas Lang was a writer at CJR Daily.