The New York Times has given anonymous sources a platform to slime other people in this story about the Romney camp’s reaction to Clint Eastwood’s beyond-bizarre appearance at the Republican National Convention.

One person from inside the campaign is quoted, and he’s one of the people who was attacked. On Twitter I called this (and it wasn’t a compliment) “[s]tandard NY Times political journalism,” a reference to the Paper of Record’s unfortunate propensity to use anonymous sources, often in violation of internal policies it routinely ignores.

A Times editor challenge my take.  “[W]ould you really expect on-the-record reax from Romney aides?” he asked. “And if not, don’t write the story?”

Of course I expect cowardly attacks from political operatives. That’s the nature of the political system.

But I don’t expect journalists to be complicit in the sleaze, even though that’s become a feature of modern journalism. It doesn’t have to be, and the Times should lead the way in saying no.

Yeah, I know — when pigs fly.