THE PLANK DECEMBER 2, 2009
The big dailies' piety about avoiding blind quotes unless there is a compelling reason to use them (the justification for which the reporters must try to explain in their vague characterization of sources) has always seemed pointless because of the absurdly low hurdle applied. Today's WaPo piece on WH Social Secretary Desiree Rogers--currently in the hot seat for having those freaky reality TV-wannabes crash the state dinner on her watch--includes two prime examples.
At one point, someone commenting on Rogers's irrepressible glamour is identified as "a friend who did not want to be identified in order not to offend." Several paragraphs later, someone asserting that Rogers is where she is because of her friendship with Valerie Jarrett is ID'd as "someone who has known Rogers for years but didn't want to be identified so as not to upset her."
Um, isn't covering one's ass so as not to have everyone upset with you over an unflattering quote almost always the reason that sources choose to remain anonymous? I'm not sure what these extended non-ID IDs tell us other than the WaPo is trying desperately to have it both ways.