Politico relied on anonymous sources not just for the tipoff on the Herman Cain story, but for some of the details as to the nature of the accusations.  Yet Politico refuses to provide any context for the sources so that readers could judge the credibility of the accusations based on the placement of the source.

This stands in contrast, for example, to Politico’s use of terms such as “senior administration official” or identifier of a person in an organization who “requested anonymity.”  This terminology protects the identity of the source, yet provides context for readers to judge the likely veracity of the otherwise anonymous statement.  Politico uses such terminology for even national security issues.

Apparently, the source for the Cain accusations must be kept even more secret than the identity of those who convey national security information.

I didn’t really expect an answer, and have not received one as of this posting, but here’s the e-mail I sent to John Harris and Jim Vandehei of Politco at 11:14 this morning, with the subject line “Inquiry re your position on Cain source”:

I’m doing a post soon about Politico’s Cain story, and I wanted to make sure I had your position on the source correct. I understand that you refuse not only to name the person or persons, but also refuse to characterize them as being affiliated or not with another campaign or otherwise. This would seem inconsistent with your frequent use of terms such as “senior administration official” which protects the identity of the person, but permits readers to put the source in some context.

Can you confirm Politico’s position on what it will or will not reveal about the source, and why it will not reveal whether the person is affiliated in any way with another campaign?

Thanks,

Bill Jacobson
Legal Insurrection Blog

Does this delay in response allow me to use this headline on the post?

POLITICO FAILURE TO RESPOND RAISES QUESTIONS

Who knows, there may be a career for me yet in the mainstream media.

As to Politico’s position on the source, I’ll let you know if I hear back.