Columns

Don’t Believe Anything 'Sources' Say

Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian

As every sentient person knows by now, our mainstream media and Big Tech platforms are limitlessly corrupt. Almost nothing they say, report or interpret can be trusted. They have become mouthpieces for the political Left, resonating bullhorns for the Democratic Party, the “social justice” insurgency, the feminist movement, domestic terrorists like Antifa and BLM, and the concerted effort to vilify and destroy the sitting American president.

A dead giveaway of their malignant agenda is the customary reliance on the “expert,” the “insider,” a someone-in-the-know code-named as “a source” or, more explicitly, “an unnamed source.” The phenomenon is so ubiquitous that it scarcely needs even a jot of documentation. Just pick up The New York Times or The Washington Post et al., scan any number of Internet sites, or watch CNN, MSNBC and the rest of that morbid crew, and you will meet the unnamed source at every turn.

Once there was a good reason for anonymity: the identity of the source needed to be protected for reasons of his or her safety as well as to ensure the continued flow of information. Such is now rarely the case. The source is unnamed because it has no name, it does not exist except in the bureau of missing persons known as the editorial office. The source is a disembodied figment that can be found nowhere but in the journalistic toolkit. In effect, whenever the reader or viewer comes across a newspaper article or visual report citing “a source,” a red flag should immediately pop up alerting us that we are dealing with a malevolent ghost now haunting the media, aka the house of lies.

Indeed, nothing attributed to “a source” should be believed; in fact, if the source says X, the proper conclusion is Not-X. To take a most recent example, after the president was hospitalized with COVID-19 symptoms, and following an upbeat report by his medical team, a “White House insider” who just happened to remain initially unidentified, reported that Trump’s vital signs were “concerning” and that the next 48 hours would be “critical.” A short while later, Trump told Rudy Giuliani that he was raring to go. Now we learn that Trump may be discharged in the next few days.

When, for whatever reason, the insider is outed or the unidentified source exposed, the next step is to “walk back” his revelations. But for the most part, the source remains in hiding, as commanding as obscure, enjoying the unassailable power of anonymity, the spectral familiar of the political Left.

Michael Rectenwald, author of Beyond Woke, is on to the Democrats’ game of relying on the spurious prestige and authority of the “source,” writing in a recently posted tweet: “Since Twitter is supposedly ‘cracking down’ on Trump death wishes, Democrats are transferring their death wishes to ‘unnamed sources’ who say he might die. Nice try, you sick bastards.”

Lack of disclosure has become the sign of resident mendacity. It is also the presage of what I call the secular numinous. It does not indicate anything transcendent. In James Michener’s most ambitious and memorable novel The Source, the font of all existence has many names, of which the Hebrew El Shaddai is the most prominent. But none of the Creator’s names are expressions of His identity, which is eternally mysterious and constitutively unknown. Even the word “God,” when written by devout rabbis and Talmudists, is lacking its middle vowel, thus: “G-d.” Scientists and laypeople may call Him the Big Bang, not realizing that the singularity at the origin of the universe is not a source but a medium through which the Source works. The sacred Source cannot be truly and definitively identified, but must remain inherently nameless, shrouded in the “cloud of unknowing.” This is how it is and should be.

In the media world, however, the “source” has acquired a kind of consecrated significance—it is always right, its authority is incontestable, and its omniscience cannot be questioned. It must be universally accepted though it remains nameless, unidentified, cryptic and impenetrable. It attests to a species of faux religiosity that masks a cynical manipulation of the facts and operates as an attempt to create something out of nothing, usurping the Divine prerogative. In the religious literature, this has always been the aim of the Father of Lies. It is now clear who and what the contemporary media serve. 

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