Tag Archives: The New York Times

The New York Times’ terrible anonymous sourcing

This is what is wrong with anonymous sourcing. It can be great for sensitive stories in which going on the record would justify someone’s career and when there is no other way to get the information. But this work, by Gerry Mullany and Scott Shane at The New York Times, is just fancily stated hearsay. In a piece about the ongoing Edward Snowden case, they add this:

For the past week, Mr. Snowden, 30, appears to have been staying in an apartment in Hong Kong’s Western District that is controlled by the Hong Kong government’s security branch, according to a person who has followed the case and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Emphasis mine. That could be virtually anyone who watches the news and called the New York Times to spout off. Presumably, the Times has reason to believe this source, and there’s a good chance they’re right. But the paper is asking for a lot of trust from its readers if they want us to believe that, and if they turn out wrong they’ve gone out on a limb for very little substance.

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NYT offers a glimpse into Obama’s careful national security approach


In a doozy of a story, the New York Times offers a view of the decisionmaking process behind drone strikes, Guantanomo and the President’s secret ‘kill list.’

“The purpose of these actions is to mitigate threats to U.S. persons’ lives,” Mr. Brennan said in an interview. “It is the option of last recourse. So the president, and I think all of us here, don’t like the fact that people have to die. And so he wants to make sure that we go through a rigorous checklist: The infeasibility of capture, the certainty of the intelligence base, the imminence of the threat, all of these things.”

Yet the administration’s very success at killing terrorism suspects has been shadowed by a suspicion: that Mr. Obama has avoided the complications of detention by deciding, in effect, to take no prisoners alive. While scores of suspects have been killed under Mr. Obama, only one has been taken into American custody, and the president has balked at adding new prisoners to Guantánamo.

“Their policy is to take out high-value targets, versus capturing high-value targets,” said Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, the top Republican on the intelligence committee. “They are not going to advertise that, but that’s what they are doing.”

Personally approving the nation’s sketchiest overseas kills would help explain all that gray hair.

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A memorial day retrospective

The brutal serendipity of war.

On the New York Times’ At War blog, James Dao writes about a May 30, 2007 crash that claimed seven coalition lives, and almost a reporter as well.

Alex Quade, a freelance television reporter, was supposed to be on that helicopter, covering a battalion-size air assault mission involving troops from the Seventh Special Forces Group, the First Battalion, the 508th Parachute Infantry Battalion and the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade. But at the last minute, Ms. Quade lost her seat to the British and Canadian soldiers, who were public affairs officers for their respective militaries. She survived to report firsthand on the recovery efforts, which included a fierce firefight, and she subsequently interviewed pilots who reported seeing a missile streaking into the sky and striking the Chinook.

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Anthony Shadid tributes from across the web


News outlets and twitter were abuzz yesterday with the death of Anthony Shadid, a veteran foreign correspondent covering Syria for The New York Times. He reportedly died of an athsma attack at the end of a week-long reporting trip to Syria.

Today, the web was full of tributes to Shadid. Many successful reporters who either knew him personally or were influenced by his work paid tribute to Shadid. Here are a few such tributes:

I ran into my office, turned on the TV, and quickly started calling my bosses and colleagues.

Then I ran back into the lobby, where I literally bumped into Anthony as he came in the door.

“What’s going on?” he said.

“Two planes have crashed into the World Trade Center” I told him. “They think it’s a terrorist attack.”

Stunned into silence for a half-beat, he then offered a prescient response.

“This is the biggest story of our lives,” Anthony replied.

It was, especially for him.

What ensued the past decade was a gift for people on both ends on Anthony’s reporting.

Photo/Creative Commons/Flickr user Terissa Schor

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