My NYT Anonymity Project is going well-- so far I've close to 150 unique reasons that people give in order to be granted anonymity as a source in the New York Times. One big motivation is plain old fear-- a large number of the reasons indicate that people are scared shitless about what will happen to them if they are found out. Some fears are more well-founded than others. Here's a few:
Here's one from the "lame excuse" category:
The guys who did a video of Kobe Bryant wishing he were traded wish to remain anonymous "for fear of retribution from Lakers fans".
On the other hand, this guy has some well-founded fears:
For Palestinians in the West Bank with family in Gaza, the distance can be agonizing. One man in Manara Square, who is originally from Gaza, was holding a picture of his cousin Samih Madhoun, a senior Fatah leader who was captured and executed by Hamas on Thursday night. Wide-eyed with fright, the man said that two of his brothers were also in the hands of Hamas, and he had no idea if they were still alive. He asked not to be identified, fearing for his relatives’ safety.
This guy has economic fear:
“It’s very media-centric,” said a director at a handset competitor who declined to be identified, saying that his company did not want to elicit comparisons with the iPhone. “It will hit one sweet spot, but not necessarily all of the sweet spots — we hope.”
Lastly, there's fear of the nation's most ruthless power couple:
One donor, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he said the Clintons would not like his speaking openly, said the Clinton campaign had been trying to lower fund-raising expectations because of a concern about a surge by Mr. Obama, who has shown broad appeal among black, female and young Democrats and has captured some big-money donors like Orin Kramer, a former Clinton supporter.