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A Strange Respect

June 27th, 2009 · 1 Comment

From a New York Times piece on Michael Jackson’s finances:

“It’s all a mess,” said one executive involved in Mr. Jackson’s financial affairs who spoke on the condition of anonymity out of respect for the entertainer’s family. “No one really knows what is going on, but these are early days.”

While I approve of the newish policy of requiring an explanation in the text when a source is granted anonymity, it seems like that reason ought to at least pass a superficial plausibility check—or, in this case, the straight face test. It’s hard to see why it’s somehow more respectful toward the family to say these things anonymously, after all. What they mean is that he spoke on condition of anonymity because he was being disrespectful by blabbing about the artist’s finances to a national newspaper, and didn’t want to be held responsible for it.

Tags: Journalism & the Media



1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Dan Summers // Jun 27, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    Yes, but I somehow doubt the Times is going to adopt a policy of honesty sufficient to yield “who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he is a complete chickenshit.”

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