Author of N.Y. Times essay is not anonymous, but confidential … that’s just beginning of reasons we should not trust author or Times

If the New York Times does not know the difference between an anonymous source and a confidential source, then perhaps it cannot be trusted with either one.That’s what this really comes down to. Trust.

On September 5, the Yellow Lady (did I get the color right?) published what it called an anonymous Op-Ed essay. This is the same New York Times that recently hired Sarah Jeong for its editorial board.  ‘Nuff said.

The New York Times admitted the name of the author is one “whose identity is known to us.” Wait. Stop right there. That’s not anonymous, that’s confidential.

According to ethics.journalists.org, “Few, if any, news stories ever actually use any information from truly anonymous sources: people whose identities are unknown to the journalists or the news organization.”

The New York Times is supposed to be in the business of choosing the right words.

This is more than a disagreement over semantics. But even if it were just semantics, the New York Times is supposed to be in the business of choosing the right words. This failure alone casts a dark shadow over the decision making.

Again, according to ethics.journalists.org, “Using terms such as ‘confidential’ sources probably doesn’t build much confidence, but the word ‘anonymous’ or ‘anonymity’ can hurt your credibility and isn’t accurate from your standpoint. So consider avoiding those terms.”

If we can’t trust the New York Times, then maybe we can trust the author. No. We can’t.

If we can’t trust the New York Times, then maybe we can trust the author.

No. We can’t.

The author describes himself or herself as being the resistance to a president who is amoral and has no first principles.

“Many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations,” the would-be lodestar wrote.

Some will call this an example of the deep state – a shadow government that’s anonymous, untrustworthy, unelected, unaccountable, above the law and able to overrule the result of any election at any time. I prefer to call it the shallow state.

I prefer to call it the shallow state.

This isn’t the steady state. It’s the narcissistic, self-righteous, self-absorbed, self-worshiping, self-important, selfish state.

The author, within his or her own aggrandized imagination, is morally superior to the president, the voters and, yes, even the New York Times. It’s hard to imagine anyone morally superior to the New York Times.

President Trump said the Department of Justice should find out who wrote the essay.

High-minded journalists (who also appear to not know the difference between anonymous and confidential) demand to know what crime has been committed.

Maybe it was false personation of a federal official.  We don’t know if someone has committed false personation unless we find out who the person is.

Federal law says, “Whoever falsely assumes or pretends to be an officer or employee acting under the authority of the United States or any department, agency or officer thereof, and acts as such, or in such pretended character demands or obtains any money, paper, document, or thing of value, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.”

Did the would-be lodestar get a thing of value?  That much media attention and the chance to write a book later in life might well be a thing of value. So, was this person actually “a senior official in the Trump administration” or an imposter?

I’d like to know. Maybe the Department of Justice would too.

How do we judge if the morality of the author is any better than that of Donald Trump? Who is to say the first principles (whatever the hell that means) of the author are any better than the first principles of the president?

The essay is absolutely worthless for its intended purpose.

The essay is absolutely worthless for its intended purpose. It can be used only to impugn the judgement of its writer and its publishers. It cannot be trusted to impeach the credibility of the president.

And, yes, I know all too well the irony of a confidential author complaining of the excesses of another confidential author. Maybe I’m a hypocrite, but I’m not exercising federal authority as a White House Senior Official for the express purpose of frustrating the results of a 2016 election.

Maybe the confidential author really is doing the right thing. But I have good reason to doubt the author and every reason to doubt the New York Times.

Sources:

https://ethics.journalists.org/topics/confidential-sources/

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/05/opinion/trump-white-house-anonymous-resistance.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/08/reader-center/anonymous-op-ed-trump.html