Well, in anticipation of Senator Clinton’s departure from the race, the knives at America’s leading papers are sharpening for use against Barack Obama, if today’s editorial piece by David Ignatius is any indication.
You can read Ignatius’s hit piece for yourself if you like, but I’d like to focus on the last paragraph, where he writes:
No one who has watched Obama’s sweep toward the nomination would say it’s impossible that he can be the great uniter. I just wish we had more evidence.
In support of his thesis in the piece, Ignatius offers some weak evidence and these two quotes:
One Chicago pol says that “the myth developed that when there was a tough vote, he was gone.”
“The authentic Barack Obama? We just don’t know. The level of uncertainty is too high,” one Democratic senator told me last week. He noted that Obama hasn’t been involved in any “transformative battles” where he might anger any of the party’s interest groups. “If his voting record in the past is the real Barack Obama, then there isn’t going to be any bipartisanship,” this senator cautioned.
Oh, yes, the hallmark of responsible journalism, the unattributed source. I’m certain that there are no politicians in Chicago who might have disagreements with Senator Obama, so this is undoubtedly a good source. It’s an especially valuable source, given his apparent lack of party affiliation.
As for the Senate Democratic source, doesn’t it seem like a relevant piece of information to note which Democratic candidate he/she supports? This is crazy stuff, but that might just influence a person’s desire to speak ill of a candidate.
Unnamed sources are essential for journalism, to protect people who face retribution or inequitable power relationships. They’re certainly not appropriate for use when a U.S. Senator wants to trash another politician. As long as journalists rely on this kind of lazy reporting, isn’t news analysis just going to be an extension of partisan, personal sniping, rather than real information?