-- NYT Confidential News Sources Policy
Today we launch a new NYTPicker feature, "Don't Quote Me!" -- a highlight of the latest, most egregious excuses for anonymity from the pages of the NYT.
You see them every morning, unnamed sources spilling their guts -- usually claiming anonymity because they were "not authorized" to speak to reporters.
Hey, we understand. On deadline, it's often very difficult to get those Official Newspaper Source Authorization Forms properly filled out.
But often -- pressed to develop some original explanation for a source's reluctance to see his or her name in the paper, per NYT policy -- NYT reporters twist themselves into pretzels with their excuses for failure to force a source onto the record.
In "For Obama, Foreign Policy May Offer Avenues for Success," by Helene Cooper, comes this articulation of a source's anonymity today. In this instance, the source says he doesn't want to engage in "speculation." A noble goal, considering it's useless, and against the NYT's anonymous source rules.
But Cooper goes ahead and quotes him speculating, anyway:
The expected ascension of Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Republican of Florida, to lead the House Foreign Affairs Committee, could signal trouble for Mr. Obama’s efforts to expand Americans’ opportunities to travel to Cuba, the next step aimed at encouraging contact between people in both countries.
“The likelihood of things moving on that in the next Congress are greatly diminished,” said a Republican aide in the House, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he did not want to speculate on legislation before the new committee assignments were set.We'll be back soon, with another edition of "Don't Quote Me!"