Civil liberties

Anonymous Sources and Apoplexy

There are clearly several "advisers" in the White House who, 1) leak all over the place, and 2) love to yank the left's chain. This has been happening throughout the year, especially regarding healthcare reform and the public option.

I stopped taking these reports seriously a while back, but especially after that one gem. Remember? The one about how the progressives should get over it and learn to live without a public option because the White House was going to abandon it? Good one!

Nevertheless, NBC's John Harwood quoted an anonymous adviser who labeled people who care about DADT and DOMA as the usual cliche: the politically-ignorant pajamas-wearing liberal fringe. Wow. That's more than a little dickish.

But as with previous "anonymous leaks," it's a fair bet that these "advisers" (whoever they are) don't speak for the White House or President Obama. Nor was this a leak coordinated with White House communications since the president just finished a speech in which he inextricably linked his presidency to the issue of LGBT rights.

If nothing else, outrage from the left ought to be directed at the press for continually quoting as gospel these anonymous red herring jabs from low level attention-starved denizens of the White House's steampipe distribution venue. So for the sake of our collective blood pressure, it'd be a smart idea to stop taking these leaks seriously.

UPDATE: Greg Sargent reports that the White House is, naturally, emphatically disavowing Harwood's paraphrased dick quote. Sargent rightly concludes:

Whatever you think of the White House’s record on gay rights issues or the respect it does or doesn’t have for the blogosphere, paraphrased second-hand claims from a single anonymous adviser don’t really seem like grounds for sweeping conclusions about the White House’s alleged disdain for the online community.

You can debate whether the White House has been solicitious enough towards the issues that matter to the online world. But it seems clear by White House actions — the hiring of Internet outreach staff, the frequent blogger conference calls, the elevation of Huffington Post at press conferences — that the White House sees the blogosphere as playing a valuable role of sorts.