Major news outlets aren’t naming the rumored Ukraine whistleblower despite disclosure of a name on social media and the Real Clear Investigations website.

From The Washington Post. 

The mainstream media’s silence is puzzling to Tom Kuntz, the editor of Real Clear Investigations (RCI), which published its whistleblower investigation last week.

“The silence has been deafening,” he said. “It’s almost like there’s a code of omerta [the Mafia vow of silence] about what media organizations can report. . . . There’s a herd mentality and a reluctance to cut against the grain.”

From the Society of Professional Journalists.

Some Republican’s argue that the name reveals the whistleblower’s bias. Dean Baquet, executive editor of the New York Times said he’s not not convinced his identity is important at this point “…or at least important enough to put him at any risk, or to unmask someone who doesn’t want to be identified…Pretty much everything has now been discussed or confirmed on the record, multiple times, by others in the administration. So I’m not sure I see the point of unmasking someone who wants to remain anonymous.”

The Postthe Times and the Associated Press have all reported that the whistleblower is a male CIA officer, noting that they think those details are relevant to establish his credibility. Easton told the Post: “AP typically refrains from identifying whistleblowers.”

Post spokeswoman Kris Coratti said The Post wasn’t naming an individual because it “has long respected the right of whistleblowers to report wrongdoing in confidence, which protects them against retaliation.”

She added, “We also withhold identities or other facts when we believe that publication would put an individual at risk. Both of those considerations apply in this case.”
A few point from the Society of Professional Journalists ethics code may offer further explanation:
Journalists should:

– Take responsibility for the accuracy of their work. Verify information before releasing it. Use original sources whenever possible. 

– Remember that neither speed nor format excuses inaccuracy. 

– Identify sources clearly. The public is entitled to as much information as possible to judge the reliability and motivations of sources. 

– Consider sources’ motives before promising anonymity. Reserve anonymity for sources who may face danger, retribution or other harm, and have information that cannot be obtained elsewhere. Explain why anonymity was granted. 

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