MICHAEL KINSLEY ON SOURCE GREASERS. I posted here on my discovery on the blog Kausfiles of a name for a story which is slanted toward an anonymous source. It’s a “source-greaser.” I wasn’t sure at the time whether the phrase in common usage among journalists. Now Mickey Kaus links to an article about source greasing by Michael Kinsley. Kinsley says that the term goes way back: “Long before Wikipedia, the term “source greaser” (or, for the dainty, “beat sweetener”) referred to a favorable news article about a public official, published in the hope of inducing cooperation in the future.” Kinsley has an amusing analysis of the conventions of the form (“The subject always puts in heroically long hours.”) I worried about how readers could not know how a typical news story is slanted to favor an anonymous source, but source greaser stories should be easy to spot. Kinsley is worried about other issues, saying: “With the demise of newspapers, the important job of currying favor with big shots will disappear as well.”

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