Anonymous transmition betrays that trust. How many more "National Guard memos" does the press need to receive? Who is to be held accountable?
The media acts like it is a court. Present damning evidence and let the accused prove his innocence. We are innocent until proven guilty in this country. The press would have you believe otherwise. When a witchhunt/zogbyism story doesn't turn out as expected, it quietly drifts off the front page to the interior and then the resolution is never printed until months later if at all.
That would be incorrect.
Knowing the identity of your source is only one of many way for the reporter to establish trust in his source. Take the article example of an IRS agent leaking a politician's income tax return. The simple and obvious way to maintain anonymity and yet firmly establish trust with the reporter would be to include a copy of the journalist's own income tax return along with the politician's.
The press is lazy, otherwise they wouldn't be so easily duped.
Things have been posted here on FR from anonymous sources, and FReepers descend on those postings like terriers on rats -- "How do you know this? Where's your source? Is that the only source you have?"
If it's a truly juicy piece of gossip, like the "James Carville beat up Mary Matalin" bombshell that was dropped here several years ago, FReepers are all over it trying to source it and prove it. As it turned out, the rumor was false (many of us suspect Carville himself started it in hopes of discrediting conservative news services). The "newspaper" it supposedly came from didn't exist. It took FReepers about two-three hours to find out it was false (sure ruined my day -- I was looking forward to spreading that one around).