Saturday, April 27, 2013

Episode 68: Anonymous Sources of Good Character

I have noticed a trend in news stories in which something sensational happened and in which the government or big corporations are involved. My scientific research reveals that several to many times, sources referenced by reporters "spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak."

I'm actually really not sure where to go with this now because my brain gets stuck in an endless loop of illogical irrationality every time I see that statement.

As near as I can figure, what it means is as long as no one knows who did it, it is ok to do something you are not supposed to do. "I did it, but I'm not telling you who I am, because I wasn't supposed to do it." My kids are very familiar with this logic, as are most kids, which is why kids have parents, to debunk such irrational and irresponsible unreasoning. It would seem that reporter school is taught by children.

Try to apply this reporter logic to other areas of life. Go ahead, it will be fun. For example, what if the greedy bankers partly responsible for all the crazy economic woes used reporter logic? Some bankers took the hard-earned money you were planning on using for stupid things like your retirement and your children's education and spent it on important things like yachts, exotic sports cars, European vacation homes, and cocaine, but it was on the condition of anonymity because they weren't actually authorized to do so. Well, that changes everything, doesn't it. Now I guess we shouldn't hold them accountable, because they tried to be anonymous about it, they really did. Don't we all?

Isn't that kind of the rational we all use when we are trying to get away with doing something we are not supposed to do because it negatively affects someone else, even though it is for the great reason of positively affecting us in some usually insignificant and temporary way? Except we used to say, "it's okay unless you get caught." The anonymity thing does sound better if we are trying to maintain good character while doing things we are not supposed to be doing, so I can see why we have started using it, because character is important.

I'm going to try this character-saving reporter logic on the cops next time I get pulled over. "Officer, can't you just write down in your little book that you couldn't give me a ticket because I was speeding on the condition of anonymity because I was not authorized to speed?" If that doesn't work, I will just argue that I was authorized to speed but I cannot reveal the source of my authorization. I'll let you know how it goes, with my one phone call.

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