Jeffrey Goldberg, editor-in-chief of The Atlantic and the journalist responsible for the “bombshell” report that President Trump disparaged America’s war dead, conceded that anonymous sources were “not good enough” in reporting such as his.

“I share that view that it’s not good enough. But, you know, like other reporters, I’m always balancing out the moral ambiguities and complications after anonymous sourcing with the public’s right to know,” Goldberg said during a Monday evening interview on MSNBC’s “All In with Chris Hayes.”

Hayes raised the issue of using unnamed sources with Goldberg while discussing his most recent article, in which he relied on four anonymous accounts.

“I had two reactions when I read the piece. One was, ‘Okay, why didn’t you tell us this before? And why not be on the record, whoever you are out there?’ I mean, this is — what you are saying here is very serious stuff. It is an incredible condemnation of the president’s character and just his humanity, obviously,” Hayes said before asking Goldberg what his response was.

Goldberg began his answer by mentioning that he knew of other reporters who were “pushing various people to say what’s on their minds.”

“I think there is a couple of things. There is this idea of a code that, you know, you don’t interfere. I think people are torn. On one hand they don’t want to interfere in democratic electoral processes,” Goldberg offered as one theory for why sources choose to stay anonymous.

Jeffrey Goldberg
Jeffrey GoldbergBen Gabbe/Getty Images for The Association of Magazine Media

The Atlantic’s editor-in-chief then turned the blame on the current commander-in-chief, saying Trump had set a tone of fear in the nation’s capital against speaking out about his alleged misdeeds.

“On the other hand, you are talking about a president who is unlike anything they have ever experienced. I think there is also fear. I think — and we see this across the board in Donald Trump’s Washington — there is a fear on a kind of a superficial level of a Twitter mob. There is also real fear of personal safety, fear for your family, fear for what you put everybody around you through if you started talking about this sort of thing,” he told the MSNBC host.

Goldberg then conceded that questions about anonymous sources were “reasonable” to raise, adding that he thought it was fine to “ask why people who have had direct exposure to Donald Trump, who know what Donald Trump has said, who know what Donald Trump has done, but won’t simply come out and say it.”

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