Mind-Fuckery 101: Using Appeals to Authority, a Common Logical Fallacy, to Manipulate an Audience
Essentially, the faulty appeal to authority is the argument that a claim is true simply because someone else believes it.
Anonymous sources only work when they can offer documents or something other than word of mouth. It's what they have that matters, not what they say. Edward Snowden and Daniel Ellsberg were anonymous at first, but it all started with documentation to wake the nation into action. In Snowden's case, he came out quite soon to protect his coworkers from NSA retaliation and undue suspicion as he knew they would arrest first and confirm later.
Below, in the example with MSNBC, we see what happens when the American press relies on anonymous or unvetted sources. It doesn't matter if you are the New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, or any news outlet-- if you quote sources without offering any proof or documentation to back the assertions and justify the anonymity, you are a fraud, a rumor-mongering twat, a loser, a propagandist. Period.
If you do it enough times, you have lost all credibility, because with the same credibility one can go around saying, with their typical air of solemnity and urgency:
"a high-level Washington source is telling us, exclusively, that CNN's Wolf Blitzer is a pig-fucking golem, and the worms have eaten his brain. I don't have the MRI images to give you right now to prove it, but you can quote me anonymously."
But this, of course, would be wrong because no images are offered, there was never any threat to the leaker to warrant anonymity, and there is simply no point in anonymously quoting his mother again because it would be an ad hominem attack.
Behold the caliber and credibility of our own media when it comes to vetting "high-level sources," like this wise guy...
What we are seeing in the ridiculous anti-Russian narrative that is trying to push us towards world war is a desperate attempt at self-preservation. They not only failed in preventing the war crimes and loss of constitutional rights after 9/11, they were complicit, as we saw in the Snowden "Art of Deception" JTRIG, GCHQ files on how the NSA was using psychological warfare on Americans in a tacit alliance with the mainstream media.
Pay close attention to whom the media is monolithically favoring.