People who send information anonymously, particularly out of fear of exposure, scandal, or retribution. Also: anonymouses (1985).
The acreage devoted to anonymous sourcing has grown so vast in recent years that the press "shameless in its lack of self-discipline" has invited opportunistic weeds, weevils, starlings, carp, and other pests to bloom in that editorial space. It's gotten so bad that you can barely read a Washington news story without getting an eyeful from an official or semi-official anonymous source who either 1) adds nothing to the story or 2) actually subtracts from it because he's allowed to spin his side's case without being held accountable.
In yesterday's Washington Post (Nov. 2, 2003; Page A9), veteran reporters Walter Pincus and Dana Milbank give the gift of anonymity, for no discernable reason, to two sources in U.S. Administrator Imposes Flat Tax System on Iraq.
But before we get to Pincus and Milbank's anonymice, a couple of minor gripes about the story.
Jack Shafer, "Pampered anonymice," Slate, November 4, 2003
They know the ins and outs of Frederick city government and the police department, and they're spilling salacious secrets to the public but they're not willing to give their names.
Former Frederick mayor Paul P. Gordon calls them "anonymice," and he suggests they're breeding quickly at City Hall.
David Snyder, "In Frederick, Anonymous Accusations," The Washington Post, January 28, 2001
Her letter ranted about other things. But like many people who write to complain, she didn't include her surname or address. The reading public is, by and large, great. Hey, you read! Already that makes you cool.
But I have no respect for "anonymice." I'll entertain all kinds of feedback. All I ask is that you have the guts to put your name on your opinions.
Jim Slotek, "Some things never change," The Toronto Sun, June 18, 1995