Accuracy in Media

The New York Times’s slogan is “All the News That’s Fit to Print.”  That should mean news that is well investigated and sourced, which is a standard that should also apply to the opinion pieces the Times runs.

But that standard may have been forever broken when the Times published an anonymous piece online on Wednesday from a self-identified senior Trump administration official. The piece, headlined, “I Am Part of The Resistance Inside the Trump Administration” described what the author said were the efforts he/she and their like-minded colleagues were taking to thwart parts of the president’s agenda and his worst inclinations.

The Times said they couldn’t identify the writer because it would jeopardize his/her job.

The Times today is taking the rare step of publishing an anonymous op-ed essay. We have done so at the request of the author, a senior official in the Trump administration whose identity is known to us and whose job would be jeopardized by its disclosure. We believe publishing this essay anonymously is the only way to deliver an important perspective to our readers. We invite you to submit a question about the essay or our vetting process here.

This latest anonymous attack comes on the heels of the revelations from Bob Woodward’s new book “Fear” which makes many unsubstantiated claims about the president and which the media has devoured with equal abandon.

The media has called this latest op-ed a “bombshell” as if the writer is someone close to the president or “in the know,” when the definition of senior Trump administration official can range from any number of people in the White House to career bureaucrats who aren’t the biggest Trump loyalists.

Trump lashed out at the Times for running the piece. Later, the Washington Post’s Erik Wemple said the Times was doing nothing more than repackaging old news considering how many on- and off-the-record comments about Trump’s capabilities have appeared since the president took office.

Wemple concludes that this is nothing more than a PR stunt and actually agrees with Trump that it was a ‘gutless” exercise on the part of the Times.

“Like most anonymous quotes and tracts, this one is a PR stunt. Mr. Senior Administration Official gets to use the distributive power of the New York Times to recast an entire class of federal appointees. No longer are they enablers of a foolish and capricious president. They are now the country’s most precious and valued patriots. In an appearance on Wednesday afternoon, the president pronounced it all a “gutless” exercise. No argument here.”


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