Good for Margaret Sullivan for calling bullshit on the Times egregious use of anonymously sourced lies and attacks from the Obama administration's Keystone Kops national security team and spy brigade:
But since The Huffington Post’s energetic media reporter Michael Calderone has already written two well-reported posts on the “odd” article itself, and Greg Mitchell wrote about it Tuesday in The Nation, let’s limit ourselves here to its jarring set of headlines.Some reporters and editors at the Times seem to think their job is to serge as the government's mouthpiece. That's not journalism; it's stenography and propaganda.
After all, I’m on the record, repeatedly and perhaps tiresomely, about: 1) theoveruse of anonymous sources; 2) setting the bar too low for agreeing to government requests to withhold information (despite some recent encouraging signs to the contrary); 3) the tendency to treat non-Times journalistic efforts with a lack of respect.
So, starting at the top, here is the main headline, in the upper-right corner of The Times, which is probably the most prominent position in world media: “Qaeda Plot Leak Has Undermined U.S. Intelligence.”
One might ask: Says who? Well, failing the presence of any attribution, one can only conclude that it’s The Times itself making this interesting statement.
Surely the subheadlines (in the print edition) will address that problem? Well, no. “Militants Alter Tactic,” says the first. And the best of all: “Disclosure Caused More Damage Than Vast Snowden Trove.” Not a shred of attribution among the three – just straight from the mouths of anonymous government sources into the automatic credibility conferred by the paper of record’s front page. The headline on the inside page echoes those on the front.