The Washington Post’s Paul Farhi last month chronicled all the crazy explanations that news organizations deploy in publishing quotes from anonymous sources. He cited, for instance, a number of New York Times stories that allowed sources to speak anonymously “because of the delicacy of the situation.”
In a piece today, Politico Chief Economic Correspondent Ben White added his own twist to the sourcing absurdities. Titled “Why the rich are freaking out,” the story inventoried the irrational fears of various really rich people in the United States, including, but certainly not limited to, the parallels drawn by venture capitalist Tom Perkins between the current anti-rich backlash and Nazism.
The collective result, according to one member of the 1 percent, is a fear that the rich are in deep, deep trouble. Maybe not today but soon.
“You have a bunch of people who see conspiracies everywhere and believe that this inequality issue will quickly turn into serious class warfare,” said this person, who asked not to be identified by name so as not to anger any wealthy friends. “They don’t believe inequality is bad and believe the only way to deal with it is to allow entrepreneurs to have even fewer shackles.”
Bold text added to highlight an immediate classic. And an intentional one, too. “It was just too good,” White told the Erik Wemple Blog today. The person who didn’t want to antagonize his rich friends, says White, was describing the “general attitude” of his cohort. And his insistence on anonymity added a bit of spice to the story. “The idea that this guy didn’t want to freak out his rich friends is comical,” says White.