By Andrew Henry
On Sept. 5, The New York Times published an op-ed piece titled “I am Part of the Resistance inside the Trump Administration.” In doing so, they broke with a longstanding tradition of revealing the author of op-ed articles.
Instead, the Times decided to protect the identity of the author since he is a high-level official in President Donald Trump’s administration.
The op-ed piece sheds light on what is really happening within Trump’s White House; in other words, it gives the American people a glimpse behind the scenes. In short, the highly controversial article revealed a chaotic team of Trump staffers trying to reign in a rampaging toddler by taking anything dangerous out of Trump’s path. The author even went as far as to describe how Trump’s aids will take potentially damaging policies off his desk before he has the time to sign them.
I appreciate the article being published, but I can’t help but feel a sense of betrayal from the Times for shrouding the author of this op-ed in anonymity. The Times is and has been a credible source for news from its founding. Something like this could deal a major blow to their credibility, especially considering the subject matter. The op-ed piece was basically an unsigned letter.
The decision to protect the author’s identity for fear that he or she may face retribution should not be the concern of a news agency.
It’s true that sometimes important sources are kept anonymous. Imagine if Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, the reporters who broke the Watergate scandal, had to reveal “Deep Throat,” the source that helped them to bring down a corrupt president and his administration.
However, the op-ed article is different because its author is not, to our knowledge, cooperating as a source in an ongoing investigative reporting process that could last more than several months. His contribution was more like a “hit and run” that resulted in more questions than answers.
Worst of all, instead of making Americans feel reassured that someone is working from within to stop Trump from enacting harmful policies, the op-ed only heightened the level of anxiety among the already concerned constituents. Telling us that there are people of sound mind in the White House, while keeping your name a secret, does not calm us. It only escalates the fear that the president of the United States is not of sound mind, something that those closest to him are noticing.
Finally, while it seems plausible, we have no proof that whoever wrote this article is, in fact, an official in the White House.
The Washington Post proclaims, “Democracy dies in darkness.” By publishing this anonymous op-ed piece, the Times is essentially adding to the darkness that America is already shrouded in.
Contact Andrew Henry at firstname.lastname@example.org