Listen: How reporters really use unnamed sources
By Jessica Huseman
The Trump administration has been the focus of remarkable reporting recently — much of it relying on unnamed sources.
The New York Times revealed that members of President Donald Trump’s campaign had been in repeated contact with members of Russian intelligence. The story, which was based on four unnamed sources, landed days after The Washington Post confirmed through nine unnamed sources that National Security Advisor Mike Flynn had discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador before Inauguration Day. Flynn had previously denied that, and he resigned days later.
Trump has repeatedly slammed the press, labeling traditional outlets like The New York Times “fake news.” Much of the public sympathizes, and may question the veracity of claims made by sources who aren’t named.
In this episode of ProPublica’s The Breakthrough, reporters Michael Schmidt and Mark Mazzetti of The New York Times discuss how they find anonymous sources, what they do to confirm the information, and whether reporting under these circumstances is really different under the Trump administration.