It has become common to use the phrase ‘an undisclosed source.’ Whether speaking of classified or top secret information, newsworthy information, or secret financial donations, or just plain old good gossip, ‘undisclosed’ is a word usually applied.
Isn’t there something wrong with these ‘secrets’ that hide individuals or institutions that seek influence or control in a free society? If motives are legitimate and honorable, why hide? And, those who are willing to publish the news without a disclosure regarding from whence this ‘information’ has come become suspect. If the information is legitimate, why isn’t the source willing to be disclosed?’
To disclose is to open up, or make something known or public. Undisclose(d) is not in the dictionary but is one of those words grouped under one heading with the prefix ‘un.’ Merriam-Webster identifies ‘un’ as meaning ‘not’ or the opposite of. In other words, news information or donation sources are not disclosed or made known to the public. No reason or explanation is offered usually. And there are cases in which journalists refuse vital information sources and have to serve jail time for their refusal to divulge the ‘undisclosed source.’
Is the matter something rumored? Who saw it happen? Did it happen? Why is there cover-up? How much money from who? The questions can go on and on and on without disclosure.
Of course, good gossip doesn’t usually come with a ‘disclosed source.’ Much of the time individuals are so happy to get the ‘news’ that it really doesn’t matter who said it. It doesn’t matter anymore that we may be repeating a lie or an exaggeration. And we’ve come to expect a little embellishment to go along with the best stories. Right!
Well consider these matters:
- Witnesses are needed to establish credibility. Witnesses are people who have seen something; a person who was present for an event and can say that it happened. Who are the witnesses, where are they (if they exist)? If the source isn’t available for examination, one has to question the credibility of the one delivering the information.
- The Biblical norm is stated in Deuteronomy 19:15 (NKJV): “One witness shall not rise against a man concerning any iniquity or sin that he commits; by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established.” It is repeated by the Apostle Paul in II Corinthians 13:1 (NKJV).
- The spirit of the 9th commandment is jeopardized by this undisclosed issue. It states, “Thou shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” (Exodus 20:16 NKJV). How do we know if the information, news, etc. is false or true when its source is undisclosed? Full disclosure helps to eliminate the possibility of false information.
- Who can you believe, the one bringing the information or the undisclosed source? But, we can’t ask clarifying questions because we don’t know the source. The one reporting isn’t talking, but only repeating his/her claim(s).
It is no wonder that cynicism, skepticism, and doubt runs rampant everywhere. We don’t know any more who to believe or trust when false information and misinformation have become common.
Are you one of those ‘undisclosed sources?