NYT’s ‘Anonymous Source’: Traitor, Troll, Or Tall Tale

Enemy of the people

KENA BETANCUR / Stringer

The anonymous author of yesterday’s New York Times op-ed, “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration,” brags of deceitfully wielding the power of the state to subvert a duly elected president. Conveniently, while the lurid gossip spreads, not a single anonymous claim can ever be verified, which means the author may be any one of three types: traitor, troll, or tall tale.

If the anonymous source exists at all and his claim that he and “many of the senior officials in [President Trump’s] own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda” is true, the author is a traitor to his country. There is nothing noble in his sabotage. He betrays his employer, undermines our constitutional order, and attacks the right of the American people, who elected Donald Trump president in 2016, to govern themselves. The only silver lining in this scenario is irrefutable validation of President Trump’s claim that a “deep state” of bureaucrats and entrenched Washington interests is working to geld our democratic process.

A second possibility is that the anonymous source exists but the op-ed is disingenuous, the author a troll rather than a traitor. On its face this explanation seems far-fetched: the essay has wrought chaos throughout Washington and portrays the President as so demented that his employees have considered attempting to remove him from office for mental incapacitation. Yet President Trump has consistently thrived on political chaos, trolling the media, and the leeway afforded by low expectations. He maligns “fake news” outlets as the “enemy of the people.” If anyone could troll a newspaper into proving the charge, it’s Donald Trump, the greatest media manipulator of our age. If all of this sounds too conspiratorial to be true, remember that the object of discussion is an anonymously authored essay, published in what was formerly the most prestigious newspaper in the world, confessing to conspiracy and subversion at the highest levels of the federal government.

The third and final possibility is that no senior administration official wrote the op-ed at all, that the whole episode is fake news. The New York Times has published fictitious reporting before, and the Gray Lady’s treatment of the Trump administration has been particularly hysterical. The mere fact that the Times stooped so low as to publish so serious an allegation anonymously shatters whatever patina of journalistic integrity the paper once possessed.

In any case, the Times’s op-ed exposes more clearly than ever that powerful enemies of the American people are determined to overturn the people’s choice in 2016. We will learn in coming months whether the people have the will or inclination to fight back.

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