Micah Kawaguchi-Ailetcher

This blog discusses current events and issues. Topic areas that are of interest include politics, media, California, and Hawaii.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

News Story of the Week

Comments on anonymous sources considering the articles “Pakistan said re-thinking US F-16 deal” by Carol Giacomo for Reuters, October 25, 2005 and “Assad says accused Syrians may face trial” by Anthony Shadid for the Washington Post, October 26, 2005.

Both of these articles use anonymous sources. However, they differ on the extent to which their stories rely on that source. The second article, by Shadid, is about Syrian President Assad’s letter to the U.S. (and others) in response to the U.N.’s investigation on former Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri’s assassination. The main source in Shadid’s article is the letter sent by Assad. In addition, his sources include an identified U.S.
State Department spokesman and an unidentified diplomat from Damascus. The diplomat’s anonymity is justifiable, considering both the ongoing investigation and possible consequences from the Syrian government. While his/her comments add to the article, the article does not depend on it for critical information.

On the other hand, the first article, by Giacomo, does not identify any of their main sources. Giacomo relies on two anonymous sources, a Pakistani diplomat and a U.S. official (from an unspecified department) for her story. The only identified source is the U.S. India Political Action Committee who made a group statement concerning the need for Pakistan to concentrate on earthquake relief “rather than the sale of arms”. This article’s use of anonymous sources differs greatly from Shadid’s in the way Giacomo relies heavily on multiple anonymous sources; there are too many motives to question. Also, it is hard for me to see why these sources would need to remain anonymous.

Another interesting use of anonymous sources came from a Knight Ridder publication. I could not find the specific story that used the source, but it was a source who gave no comment but only on the condition that they remain anonymous. I learned this from a C-SPAN broadcast, “Symposium on Examining Opinion and Bias in the News”. You can click this link, and then click on the title to see the footage. You can find the quote at about 30 seconds.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

News Story of the Week

Comments on, “A year later, Goss’ CIA is still in turmoil” by Dafna Linzer for the Washington Post on October 19, 2005.

This article is about accountability. The news item in this story is a closed-door meeting that is to take place on Wednesday between Goss, who is the head of the CIA, and the Senate intelligence committee to discuss the loss of personnel in the agency. What is particularly good about this article is the depth of information provided on the ongoing turmoil within the CIA. This story becomes about accountability when is discusses what Goss has said he will do and what he has done over the last year since he has taken over the position. In this way, the public is made aware of Goss’ job performance and has enough background information on the ongoing issue to assess what comes out of Wednesday’s meeting.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

News Story of the Week

Comments on "Tax Panel Says Popular Breaks Should Be Cut", by David E. Rosenbaum in the New York Times, October 12, 2005.

In regards to recent events, the United States is spending a lot of money, all the while running an enormous budget deficit. While this may be common knowledge, the plans currently going through Washington aiming to solve our money woes are less commonly known. This article helps the public to understand what solutions are being considered. The alterations in the tax codes discussed will not be made for some time, if they are even made at all. The timing of this article is what makes it so important. We often find out about legislation after it has been passed by congress or put into effect. Being informed about legislation in its early stages benefits the public because we are able to lobby for or against legislation before it becomes law.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

News Story of the Week

Comments on “The President’s ‘Pit Bull’” by Richard A Serrano and Scott Gold in the Los Angeles Times on October 4, 2005

On Monday, when the announcement of Harriet Miers as the nominee to the Supreme Court, there was little information available about her from the news outlets. With the few amount of writings she has, and the fact that she was not a judge, makes it even more difficult to figure out what her presence will do on the high court. However, I feel that this article from the times was successful in taking the sparse information available on Miers and putting it together in a coherent article. The most helpful part of this article was that the relationship between Miers and President Bush was made clear. With this, it is much easier for me to start analyzing what effect she will have on the court.