Normal view MARC view ISBD view

On the condition of anonymity : unnamed sources and the battle for journalism / Matt Carlson.

By: Carlson, Matt, 1977-.
Material type: TextTextSeries: History of communication: Publisher: Urbana : University of Illinois Press, [2011]Copyright date: ©2011Description: 202 pages ; 24 cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9780252035999 (hardcover : alk. paper); 0252035992 (hardcover : alk. paper).Subject(s): Attribution of news | Reporters and reporting -- United States | Journalism -- Political aspects -- United States | Journalistic ethics -- United StatesDDC classification: 070.4/3 LOC classification: PN4781 | .C38 2011
Contents:
Introduction : the problems-and promise-of unnamed sources -- Media culpas : prewar reporting mistakes at the New York times and Washington post -- "Blogs 1, CBS 0" : 60 minutes and the Killian memos controversy -- Journalists fight back : Newsweek and the Koran abuse story -- Deep Throat and the question of motives -- "Journalism on trial" : confidentiality and the Plame leak case -- Rethinking anonymity : problems and solutions.
Summary: Matt Carlson confronts the promise and perils of unnamed sources in this exhaustive analysis of controversial episodes in American journalism during the George W. Bush administration, from prewar reporting mistakes at the New York Times and Washington Post to Judith Miller's involvement in the Valerie Plame leak case and Dan Rather's lawsuit against CBS News. Weaving a narrative thread that stretches from the uncritical post-9/11 era to the unmasking of Deep Throat and the spectacle of the Scooter Libby trial, Carlson examines a tense period in American history through the lens of journalism. Revealing new insights about high-profile cases involving confidential sources, he highlights contextual and structural features of the era, including pressure from the right, scrutiny from new media and citizen journalists, and the struggles of traditional media to survive amid increased competition and decreased resources. In exploring the recent debates among journalists and critics over the appropriate roles of media, Carlson underscores the potential for unattributed information to be both an effective tool in uncovering necessary information about vital institutions and a means for embroiling journalists in controversy and damaging the credibility of already struggling news outlets. -- from Book Jacket.
Tags from this library: No tags from this library for this title. Log in to add tags.
Item type Current location Call number Status Date due Barcode
Book University of Texas At Tyler
Stacks - 3rd Floor
PN 4781 .C38 2011 (Browse shelf) Available 4000000000032

Includes bibliographical references and index.

Introduction : the problems-and promise-of unnamed sources -- Media culpas : prewar reporting mistakes at the New York times and Washington post -- "Blogs 1, CBS 0" : 60 minutes and the Killian memos controversy -- Journalists fight back : Newsweek and the Koran abuse story -- Deep Throat and the question of motives -- "Journalism on trial" : confidentiality and the Plame leak case -- Rethinking anonymity : problems and solutions.

Matt Carlson confronts the promise and perils of unnamed sources in this exhaustive analysis of controversial episodes in American journalism during the George W. Bush administration, from prewar reporting mistakes at the New York Times and Washington Post to Judith Miller's involvement in the Valerie Plame leak case and Dan Rather's lawsuit against CBS News. Weaving a narrative thread that stretches from the uncritical post-9/11 era to the unmasking of Deep Throat and the spectacle of the Scooter Libby trial, Carlson examines a tense period in American history through the lens of journalism. Revealing new insights about high-profile cases involving confidential sources, he highlights contextual and structural features of the era, including pressure from the right, scrutiny from new media and citizen journalists, and the struggles of traditional media to survive amid increased competition and decreased resources. In exploring the recent debates among journalists and critics over the appropriate roles of media, Carlson underscores the potential for unattributed information to be both an effective tool in uncovering necessary information about vital institutions and a means for embroiling journalists in controversy and damaging the credibility of already struggling news outlets. -- from Book Jacket.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

Anonymous sources have always been a staple of American journalism, and the relationship among unnamed sources, reporters, and audiences is complex. Carlson (communication, St. Louis Univ.) argues that anonymous sources have contributed to journalism's greatest coups (think Watergate) and biggest failures, including weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. He claims journalism, embedded in the culture, is culturally constructed and cannot be completely autonomous or objective. After introducing this problem, he devotes five chapters to examining prewar reporting of the New York Times and Washington Post on Iraq, 60 Minutes and the National Guard service of President Bush, Newsweek and the 2005 Koran abuse story, Deep Throat and Watergate, and the Valerie Plame leak. In conclusion, Carlson suggests guiding principles for unnamed-sourcing practices. VERDICT Carlson raises important issues related to sources and to the structural forces currently challenging the meaning of journalism in today's multimedia world. The academic prose will be a barrier for some readers, but the timely topic should be of interest to practicing journalists and scholars.-Judy Solberg, Seattle Univ. Lib. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

CHOICE Review

Carlson (communication, Saint Louis Univ.) argues that elite journalism's use of anonymous sources created five "critical incidents" that forced American journalists and citizens to rethink the role of journalism in a democracy. He looks at events ranging from the Watergate scandal and its famous "Deep Throat" source in the 1970s to the 2007 prosecution of Scooter Libby, in which the press's use of anonymous sources was put on trial. He argues that journalists wrongly give sources the power to control the news. Moreover, too frequently, in Carlson's view, anonymity is granted for the benefit of the journalist, not of the public. By granting immunity, journalists preserve access and fulfill their need to produce front-page stories. Carlson wisely suggests that journalists should be guided instead by contingency, transparency, and aggressiveness. Contingency demands granting anonymity only with strings attached. Transparency requires journalists to be open about how news stories are developed (with occasional exceptions), and aggressiveness (in carrying out the press's watchdog role) leads to limiting anonymity to whistleblowers who expose information that benefits the public. This analysis contributes significantly to understanding not only the use of anonymous sources (the benefits and the dangers) but also journalism broadly. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals. J. L. Aucoin University of South Alabama

Author notes provided by Syndetics

<p> Matt Carlson is an assistant professor of communication at Saint Louis University</p>

There are no comments for this item.

Log in to your account to post a comment.