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Montana Politics

When Media Covers Media: That Ol’ Anonymous Source

I hope visitors will excuse the wonkery of this post, but on a day when I was lectured about journalistic ethics, I thought this little series of articles illustrates the danger of the media covering the media.

When KXLH covered the Planned Parenthood protest of the IR Health Fair, they included this detail from an anonymous source, despite the fact that no one at the IR would go on the record for the story:

However, a newspaper worker inside told us that Planned Parenthood has never participated in the event.

She said they would not comment on the protest.

What did we learn from the IR today?

IR publisher Randy Rickman told The Associated Press on Friday that the newspaper was not targeting Planned Parenthood. The group’s participation in the fair two years ago prompted an anti-abortion group to try to secure a table next to it, he said.

Lesson: maybe the media shouldn’t let anonymous sources take shots at their opponents when they go on the record and certainly not when easily verifiable information is available.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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