Megalomedia - Wake up to your news

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Libelled by an anonymous source - it's a Megalomedia wetdream

By now I'm sure most Megalomedia readers (at least those in Canada) have read about the charges facing Rick Tocchet. He responded to the charges, and in so doing, consented to potentially libelous statements, so I can say here that he has been named in an investigation into an illegal gambling ring in the US. What I won't repeat here is the name of the other people identified in the stories as being involved. For one, they haven't been interviewed and therefore, haven't had the chance to respond. Futhermore, they weren't even named in the formal press briefing. Almost every Canadian article on this story cites an Associated Press article that cites an anonymous source. Let's put aside the libel question for now, it's been discussed on this site before and undoubtedly will again. Let's instead focus on the anonymous source element. Using an anonymous source is (in theory at least) a last resort decision made by an editor. Such sources should be used only when there's a pressing need to do so and when the editor has every confidence in their source. In this case, there is no way each media outlet could have checked this source. They're running libelous speculation based on someone else's anonymous source. That's a risky fucking decision and an absolutely irresponsible one.

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