I'm not a degreed, "professional" journalist, many times I am told things by anonymous sources -- typically for them to make it on the pages of one of my blogs, whatever I am told has to be confirmed by more than one source, unless they are willing to go on the record. I understand many don't feel that way preferring to go for the "gotcha" mentality of the moment. A perfect example is Ben Smith reporting Organized labor just flushed $10 million of their members' money down the toilet. How do we really know that was said is the first question, how do we really know it was a "Senior White House official" -- then there is the reality that if such a comment was made, it was most likely made off the record. Most of the really juicy things I get told are, off the record.
Take this incident with the recent one created by Talking Points Memo related to did John Boehner understand the question or not -- the reality is the reporter knew Boehner's position before. While I agree with Glenn Greenwald about the cowardice aspect, and the title of this post which comes from his Salon piece, I also think this type of journalism is going to continue to degrade the credibility of internet reporting. The temptation to gain some momentary fame has already created scenarios where bloggers have made things up. Including making up fake people to attack yourself on a blog so you can play victim, that's happened more than once in the Ohio blogosphere alone.