One of the most pernicious developments in modern journalism is the number of newspaper reports that feature anonymous sources. Anonymity is allowable and understandable for whistleblowers who risk retaliation for exposing wrongdoing or for victims of crimes or are otherwise in danger but now it is routinely given to high officials who are merely seeking to advance an agenda or are fighting internal turf wars and do not want their fingerprints over it.
But Cory Doctorow points out that even official spokespersons speaking officially about official institutional policy are demanding that they remain anonymous even for the most innocuous of statements. He argues, rightly in my opinion, that not having a name associated with a statement, but merely attributing it to an institution, robs the reader of a sense of accountability. As Doctorow states:
I’m talking about attending the press conference and asking the official spokesperson, making prepared statements on behalf of the company, what his name is. This is relevant. The reason that human beings deliver these statements is so that we’ll believe them and report on them, because statements attached to people are more convincing than anonymous, unsigned missives on the company website. If we are going to give statements credence because they originate with humans, then we should know who those humans are.