Below is a fabulous quote:
"In the United States, "revelations" about Noriega have at times been based on putative intelligence reports related by anonymous sources. In at least one case, according to an influential Panamanian opposition journalist, a U.S. congressional staff member with access to classified material on Noriega seemed to encourage him to embellish, telling him: 'Put down whatever you want and it will be true.'"
--John Dinges, Our Man in Panama (New York: Random House, 1990): x.
That was written 23 years ago, but fits many conservative accounts of Latin America today. Neither Mary O'Grady nor Roger Noriega could ever write much of a column without using anonymous sources to give them the juicy anecdotes they use to vilify what they don't like. I would guess that the sources themselves, along with their disseminators, figure it is worth it because the politician in question is so vile. If I think it could be true, then it is true.
Very often, of course, these sources need no encouragement because they are trying to get something they want, perhaps a prominent position after some sort of intervention. Those sources are especially insistent when it appears that intervention is imminent, reassuring policy makers that everything will work out fine.
I expect in the coming months we'll be hearing a lot from such sources about Venezuela. They will say lots of unverifiable things that will get picked up in the MSM and will confirm people's worst fears. There will be calls to do "something."