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Research Article Open Access
Unnamed and Anonymous Sources:
Did They Shape the Debate Over Invading Iraq?
A study of 528 news items from 11 countries explores how anonymous and unnamed sources were used by journalists during the buildup to the Iraq War. A quarter of all sources appearing in news items were not identified by name. The use of unnamed sources corresponded with a decrease in ideas opposing the war and a tone that presented the war as being more positive and unavoidable. The findings raise questions about whether anonymous and unnamed sources serve the perceived whistleblower function in political discourse.