KLAVAN: What Are The Motivations Of The Media's Anonymous Sources

On Thursday’s episode of “The Andrew Klavan Show,” the host criticizes the media’s escalated use of anonymous sources in their reporting, specifically of the Trump administration. Transcript and video below.

Here I am at Hillsdale College and I am the Pulliam Distinguished Fellow in journalism, all right. So, from that lofty position, I'm going to ask the following question. Part of a news story is where the information comes from. And you say that's not a question."And you're right. That's not a question. Part of every news story is where the information comes from. That's one of the most essential parts of a piece of journalism, where did you get the information? What's their purpose in giving you the information, why did they do it? Who? Where do they stand politically? What's their motivation? How do we know it's reliable? We know nothing, this is third-hand anonymous sources. Investigators told associates according to government officials.

Are you kidding me? Are you kidding me? If I were the New York Times right now, I would be in the bathroom curled up in the corner sobbing for the disgrace I've made of myself in my hatred of Donald Trump. This paper used to be a great paper. It really did. I mean I'm talking back, way back in the day like the '80s. But still it was a good paper, it was more or less fair. It had a Liberal-leaning, but it was still pretty fair. Anonymous investigators have told anonymous associates according to government officials and we can't tell you what they said. They won't tell us what they said.

That's their story and of course, the liberals love it. The liberals think this is a big, big story. You go on Twitter and the liberals are "Oh what a wonderful country that all this information is coming out". At least the Times is honest about one thing; they're honest about their motivations. They say, "at stake in the dispute." Right? This kind of passive voice where nobody's saying this, just the New York Times is declaring this to be the truth. At least they didn't have three anonymous sources not saying things. But "at stake in the dispute ... the first evidence of.”

This is the first evidence of tension between Mr. Barr and the special counsel's office, which by the way it's not evidence of anything. But "at stake in the dispute is who shapes the public's initial understanding of one of the most consequential government investigations in American history. Some members of Mr. Mueller's team are concerned that because Mr. Barr created the first narrative of the special counsel's findings Americans' views will have hardened before the investigation's conclusions become public." That is an amazing paragraph that is a paragraph that should be put into some kind of hall of shame of journalism.

So, in other words,...The New York Times wants to get in on the narrative. They've got government officials talking to associates who talked to investigators who won't tell them what they said. But it's worth putting on the front page because then Chris Matthews can go on and people can go on Twitter and it'll help shape the narrative of one of the most consequential government investigations in American history.

Who says? What's consequential about it? Nothing's happened. There's been no indictments there's been nothing. If anything's consequential about it, it has been a massive, massive scandal for the FBI led by James Comey for Barack Obama's DOJ. That's the scandal. But they're not covering that scandal. So, it's a battle for the narrative.

I hate to do this to the New York Times because I feel sorry for them. But let's use a little logic here OK? The attorney general is going to release this report, this report is going to come out. Now maybe there'll be some stuff redacted, you know for reasons of classified national security and all this stuff. But basically, we're all going to see what's in the report. He wants to show what's in the report. Trump wants the report out, recently because he knows the Democrats are making themselves hysterical. He's been trolling them. But he wants them to come out; he doesn't care if it comes out. Barr put out a letter, his letter quoted the report and he's now trying to get the report out as quickly as he can. He's going to be called before Congress to testify. Right? He's going to be called before Congress to testify. He's not lying. It's ridiculous.

This conspiracy does not exist. There is no cover-up. There's nothing going on. There's no news. It's not a news story. It's not, if it were a news story, they would have some kind of source who would go online and say this is what happened.

Anytime Mueller wants he can come out and say Barr is lying about me. That's not what the report says. And Barr knows it. But you know it's ridiculous. It's an absolutely ridiculous illogical story with no sourcing. You know, and on the front page, I mean these guys have sacrificed their reputation, the reputation of a great institution, their reputation as journalists. If it weren't for the fact that all of the journalists are run by Democrats, these guys would be toast. This is an absolutely shameful moment in the history of the New York Times. It is just absolutely shameful that they would do this.


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