News & Politics

Greta: ‘Overuse of Anonymous Sources’ One of the ‘Biggest Crimes’ in Journalism Today

Greta Van Susteren is interviewed at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on Saturday

WASHINGTON — Greta Van Susteren, a former Fox News and MSNBC host, said one of the “biggest crimes” in journalism today is the “overuse of anonymous sources,” specifically in press coverage of President Trump and the White House.

Van Susteren was asked about former Nightline anchor Ted Koppel, who recently criticized some newspapers for putting commentary about Trump on the front page, adding that Trump is “not mistaken” in his perception that the press is “out to get him.” Van Susteren, who now works for Gray TV, told PJM she agrees with Koppel.

“There used to be a real bright line between opinion and fact and that bright line is no longer there and I think that’s what Ted is talking about on the front page of the New York Times,” she said during an interview at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on Saturday evening. “Look, it’s important to have opinion because we want a robust debate in this country on important issues. The problem is when robust debate and facts are so intertwined that you don’t know if it’s someone’s opinion or fact.”

Van Susteren argued that there are too many “drive-by smears” taking place in political reporting.

“One of the biggest crimes that’s going on in journalism right now is the overuse of anonymous sources. It used to be an anonymous source is if you thought a whistleblower or national security secrets — now they use drive-by smears. If you can pick up any newspaper and highlight it, it will say ‘senior White House official’ or ‘senior ex-White House official’ or something,” she said.

“Nobody has the guts and the courage to stand up and be accounted for when they make statements to the press – that’s the problem. So, we can’t challenge them – a lot of drive-by smears. It goes both ways, Republican and Democrat, and I think it’s terrible we have so much of it,” she added.