Mark’s defense of the use of background is well-taken, but I think elides a more important, although somewhat more partisan point.
For the last decade or so, reporters have used the blind background quote to write an endless stream of “Democrats in circular firing squad” stories. I’m not sure Adam Nagourney is capable of doing anything else: virtually every one of his “pieces” are about unnamed “Democratic strategists worrying” about something or other.
Now that Republicans have gotten their clocks cleaned, it’s high time that we see lots of these for the GOP and begin to change the narrative. I suggest maintaining these stories until there is something of a balance.
See? You don’t need a Fairness Doctrine: all you need are lazy reporters. And the supply of those doesn’t figure to go down any time soon.