There are now 340,987 unnamed sources in Washington. Many of these, who have asked not to be quoted, have been called out of retirement due to the alleged Clinton sex scandal.
One insider, who shall remain nameless, told me, "If it wasn't for this country's unnamed sources there would be no Clinton scandal. Our `not-for-attribution' quotes are what makes this story sizzle.""How do you choose which media to leak to?"
"We go with whoever calls us first. There are almost as many reporters on this story as there are people who don't want to be quoted by name."
"The media owe you a lot."
"We have to `ask not what our country can do for us, but what we can do for Geraldo Rivera.' That quote has been attributed to John F. Kennedy by a high government official, who cannot be identified."
"As an unnamed source, aren't you afraid someone will identify you by name?"
"It's a risk. Once you are identified you lose your credibility. Our role model is Deep Throat. To this day no one knows who he was, and yet his information broke open Watergate. Reporters dream about finding another Deep Throat in Monica Lewinsky's garage."
What I didn't know is that the unnamed sources have an organization where they exchange tidbits on various scandals. A juicy item on Linda Tripp is worth two rumors about Gennifer Flowers.
"Does it ever bother you that an unattributed piece of gossip could bring down the president of the United States?"
"Not much. You cannot have a free press unless you permit people to talk off the record. Undisclosed sources are always the best ones, particularly when the reporter is on deadline. I have had anchormen call me up just before they go on the air to confirm something they heard from another unidentified source."
"Do you say it's true?"
"I have to, because that person might be called to find out if what I leaked had any validity."
"You do see a light at the end of the tunnel when unnamed sources will no longer have status in the United States?"
"Not as long as there is a national sex scandal. People don't give a darn about Iraq, but when it comes to official hanky-panky, they'll take the unnamed source's word against an official spokesman's every time."
Los Angeles Times Syndicate