On The Condition of Anonymity

On The Condition of Anonymity : Unnamed Sources and the Battle for Journalism

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Matt Carlson confronts the promise and perils of unnamed sources in this exhaustive analysis of controversial episodes in American journalism during the George W. Bush administration, from prewar reporting mistakes at the New York Times and Washington Post to the Valerie Plame leak case and Dan Rather's lawsuit against CBS News. Weaving a narrative thread that stretches from the uncritical post-9/11 era to the spectacle of the Scooter Libby trial, Carlson examines a tense period in American history through the lens of journalism. Revealing new insights about high-profile cases involving confidential sources, he highlights contextual and structural features of the era, including pressure from the right, scrutiny from new media and citizen journalists, and the struggles of traditional media to survive amid increased competition and decreased resources.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 216 pages
  • 154.94 x 231.14 x 20.32mm | 476.27g
  • University of Illinois Press
  • Baltimore, United States
  • English
  • 0252035992
  • 9780252035999
  • 1,680,975

Review quote

"Carlson offers an interesting, well-written, and lucid cultural analysis of the 'unique risks and rewards' that occur 'from the bargain struck' between reporters and confidential sources."-- Journalism "Raises important issues related to sources and to the structural forces currently challenging the meaning of journalism in today's multimedia world."--Library Journal "Carlson's book is a must-read for people trying to understand what direction journalism should take in redefining itself in the face of rising threats-technological, economic, political, and otherwise."--Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly "Carlson offers sensible prescriptions for less reliance on anonymous sources and for more transparency when they are relied upon by journalists. His book injects calm reason and scholarly rigor into a debate that often arouses passions."--St. Louis Post-Dispatch "Contributes significantly to understanding not only the use of anonymous sources (the benefits and the dangers) but also journalism broadly. Recommended."--Choiceshow more

Table of contents

Acknowledgments ix Introduction: The Problems - and Promise - of Unnamed Sources 1 1. Media Culpas: Prewar Reporting Mistakes at the New York Times and Washington Post 31 2. "Blogs 1, CBS 0": 60 Minutes and the Killian Memos Controversy 52 3. Journalists Fight Back: Newsweek and the Koran Abuse Story 71 4. Deep Throat and the Question of Motives 91 5. "Journalism on Trial": Confidentiality and the Plame Leak Case 111 6. Rethinking Anonymity: Problems and Solutions 138 Notes 163 Index 197show more

About Matt Carlson

Matt Carlson is an assistant professor of communication at Saint Louis Universityshow more