(Hall Of Famer Peter Gammons, flanked by Kay Hanley and Bill Janovitz, both of whom have also suffered the slings and arrows of anonymous sources)
If I’m not sorry about the above headline now, wait a few hours until I’ve fully woken up. After MLB Network analyst Peter Gammons took to the Boston airwaves to assail Bob Hohler’s use of unattributed sources in the Boston Globe’s (Red Sox-assisted?) burial of Terry Francona, The Globe’s Chad Finn writes, “Gammons’ affiliation with or affinity for the franchise he first covered for the Globe in the 1970..led him in an irresponsible direction. His compass let him down.”
Betraying the trust of a confidential source would be journalistic suicide. The use of such sources in Hohler’s story was essential to provide answers to the question that hovered over the end of the season: How in the world did this collapse happen? Anyone with legitimate first-person knowledge likely had something to lose by going on the record. Anonymous sources are never a reporter’s ideal approach, but sometimes a story – particularly one of this magnitude – cannot be told in full without them. This was one of those instances.
(Gammons also said Hohler called the medical staff and tried to get information from them by using columnist Dan Shaughnessy’s name. Hohler said that did not happen.)
It should be acknowledged that Gammons himself has been liberal with the use of anonymous sources. They have long contributed to the insider feel of his notebooks and columns.
A search of the Globe electronic archives shows that Gammons has used them at least as far back as November 1979, when he reported that the Red Sox were going to sign free agent first baseman Tony Perez.