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These Anonymous Critics ARE Cowards

The AP reports, “Palin derides anonymous critics on Fox as cowards,” a reference to a recent Fox News segment in which a correspondent relayed a variety of negative attacks from, he said, members of the McCain campaign staff against Sarah Palin.

No matter what you think about Palin in general, she’s right in this case. It’s a perfect example of why anonymous critics should not be taken seriously — in fact why they should often be flatly disbelieved.

Consider the source. Remember the avalanche of lies that emanated from the McCain campaign this fall? These folks were spewing untruths as a matter of routine. Now we’re supposed to suddenly start trusting them? Strike one.

Even though Palin betrayed a remarkable ignorance to go along with her arrogance, the notion that she doesn’t know Africa is a continent can’t be taken seriously. Strike two.

And then there’s the refusal of the person who allegedly said this to allow his or her name to be attached to the slander. Strike three.

This isn’t precisely like an anonymous comment on a blog, where we don’t know anything about the person posting it. In this case we know — or, rather, we’ve been told by a news organization that itself is often untrustworthy — that the comments came from a dishonest political campaign.

The anonymous comment on a blog or news article deserves less than no credibility. The Palin attacks, given the source, deserve about as much trust: zero at most.

4 Comments on “These Anonymous Critics ARE Cowards”

  1. #1 Tim Windsor
    on Nov 9th, 2008 at 8:01 am


    I couldn’t agree with you more. Forget the partisan nature of the attacks, for a journalist to use such quotes as anything more than background information to drive an investigation that ends at facts and details that can be attributed and verified is just lazy journalism. That it appears in one of the top two news weeklies is doubly disappointing.

  2. #2 CTDarling
    on Nov 9th, 2008 at 9:58 am

    C’mon really who really cares, Palin was meeted out with the calibre and content of her own campaign lies which really may be the point here in this volley of un-owned fluff (Africa’s not a country?)( she deserves such). Yes, certainly it is deplorable but look at so much of the coverage ; sound bite city, thin info , sensationalistic drivel which one has to say Fox loves to up their numbers with; the “lot less filling” bombastic sensationalistic uneven-ness of quasi journalism thrown into their mix so when one sums it up from FOX; What were you expecting? Quality journalism Please. Everyone knows they need a serious house cleaning @ Fox to be taken seriously.

  3. #3 Jon Garfunkel
    on Nov 9th, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    Speaking for many, Josh Marshall explained why he couldn’t help but echo this story:

    “Part of me thinks I shouldn’t be watching Fox News reporter and sometimes fabulist Carl Cameron dishing the McCain campaign’s dirt on Sarah Palin. But well, when Mothra goes up against Godzilla, how can you not watch?”

    (28 hours later, after posting a reader comment, he fesses up to being “more than a little skeptical myself.”)

    That’s the “echo-sphere” for ya: how can you not watch?

  4. #4 Delia
    on Nov 11th, 2008 at 12:05 am

    re: “It’s a perfect example of why anonymous critics should not be taken seriously”… (…)… “The anonymous comment on a blog or news article deserves less than no credibility.”

    you are just as wrong on this, no matter how many times you repeat it… (for some odd reason you keep forgetting that the quality of the criticism is what makes it deserving or undeserving, not the source per se — makes me think you want to discredit critics… period! and pointing-out anonymity is just a convenient pretext…).