Power and eagerness should be huge factors in deciding whether and when to grant confidentiality to sources.
My blog post yesterday about confidential sources represents my views on dealing with whistleblowers and prominent people such as government and military officials. But those aren’t the only people journalists write about. While my starting point remains on-the-record-spell-your-name-please, some stories present more complicated situations and demand more nuanced positions.
The powerful owe society and taxpayers a degree of openness and accountability. The powerful generally benefit enormously from media attention and deserve to take some heat when they don’t benefit. The powerful manipulate the media enough when they are being visible. To let them manipulate without any level of accountability is hardly ever justified. (more…)