Just three days after Michael Getler wrote "Read All About It, About It, About It" [ombudsman, May 30], Robin Wright and Mike Allen were at it again. In their above-the-fold, middle-of-the-front-page analysis piece, "Many Hurdles Ahead for U.S.," they used an unattributed quotation from a "senior State Department official who requested anonymity." And what sensitive information did this important official have to share with us?
More PR puffery for the administration.
Referring to the newly named interim government in Iraq and the new U.N. draft resolution, the State Department official made the following not-for-attribution, self-serving comment: "People can now see that we're developing real momentum for the handover of sovereignty." What possible excuse can there be for using this quotation anonymously? Perhaps a fear of offending sources explains why most of your reporters didn't do the aggressive and rigorous digging they should have done before we invaded Iraq.
Wright and Allen don't seem to have read Getler's column. Not only did they continue their promiscuous and gratuitous use of unnamed sources, they also provided "the megaphone" once again. The last paragraph of their "analysis" noted that President Bush would be delivering "the second of a weekly series of Iraq speeches" at the Air Force Academy. And, just in case we were to miss the story about the actual speech that surely would follow the next day, Wright and Allen kindly previewed what the speech will be covering.
-- Lorraine P. Coffey