For ABC News, Unnamed Sources are Questionable, Sometimes

ABC News' Internet site yesterday reported on summaries of four Iraqi documents from Saddam Hussein's government that were released by the U.S. government Wednesday. The first is an Iraqi intelligence service document tracing a relationship between Osama bin Laden and Hussein's government.

ABC News then added an "Editor's Note," which in part states:

"While the assertions contained in this document clearly support the claim (of a bin Laden-Hussein connection), the sourcing is questionable — i.e. an unnamed Afghan 'informant' reporting on a conversation with another Afghan 'consul.' The date of the document — four days after 9/11 — is worth noting but without further corroboration, this document is of limited evidentiary value."

Oh, OK, ABC News considers unnamed sources questionable. A valid position, if it were consistent. But ABC News isn't, and regularly quotes unnamed sources without going out of its way to highlight their questionability.

Only last month the networks Internet site carried a story titled, "Cheney Controversy Persists." According to the article's second paragraph:

"Sources told ABC News that the vice president's team had debated issuing a statement early Sunday morning per the White House's request. But sources said Cheney's team decided it would be more credible to allow ranch owner and witness Katharine Armstrong to make the information public."

The piece should have included a warning to readers that, since the sources used are unnamed, their assertions are questionable and of limited value. I'm sure not adding that was merely an oversight on the part of ABC News.

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