Perspectives; Thoughts; Comments; Opinions; Discussions

Commentary By Ben Marquis | September 6, 2018 at 3:05pm

The New York Times published an opinionated hit piece against President Donald Trump on Wednesday, but what else is new?

The anonymously written op-ed article, titled “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration,” was purportedly penned by a “senior official” in Trump’s administration. It asserted that a collection of other “senior officials” are part of a broader, right-leaning “resistance” inside the administration that is “thwarting” the president’s “misguided impulses” to save the country from Trump’s petty recklessness.

This, even as the supposed “senior official” author admitted that many of Trump’s policies “have already made America safer and more prosperous,” though the author insisted that was the case in spite of, and not because of, Trump himself.

Unsurprisingly, the op-ed sparked plenty of controversy and outrage on all sides and provoked conspiratorial conversations about exactly who this anonymous “senior official” is.

Using clues such as linguistic mannerisms and specific words contained within the article, guesses have ranged from Vice President Mike Pence to a number of different cabinet-level officials to other truly “senior” officials in the top tier of the administration’s several agencies and departments.

But if Trump’s White House has engaged in a “witch hunt” of its own to identify the anonymous author of The Times’ hit piece, an op-ed in Townhall suggested the hunters avert their gaze from the cabinet and top tier of the administration and search a little bit lower on the totem pole to find the potentially seditious insider.

That Townhall piece noted that The Times has a history of inflating and over-exaggerating the stature or seniority of its anonymous sources from within the government, and pointed to a rather glaring example of the practice that occurred in 2011.

At that time, the explosive growth in natural gas energy production was gaining steam in large part because of technological progress in a new method of drilling known as hydraulic fracturing. Better known as “fracking,” it was widely opposed by the left, to include the Obama administration and its liberal mouthpieces at The Times.

A writer for The Times published a series of anti-fracking articles in the paper, one of which anonymously cited emails from three “senior” insiders — an energy industry analyst, a federal analyst and a senior administration official — who were all opposed to the shale energy boom and the industry’s methods used to extract it.

A Senate investigation into the matter determined that the emails had all originated in the federal government’s Energy Information Agency, and even better than that, all the emails from the three “different” sources had actually come from just one person employed by the EIA.

On top of that, the one EIA employee was nowhere close to truly being a “senior” official of any sort. At the time he wrote the first email quoted by The Times, he was actually an intern with the EIA. He had been promoted one rung on the ladder to be an entry-level analyst when he wrote the others.

A deeper dive into that particular scandal was well documented in a 2011 article published by Energy In Depth, including a look at how harshly The Times’ own ombudsman judged the newspaper’s product.

There’s no way of knowing who The Times’ source is in this case, but history suggests the possibility that The Times has similarly exaggerated or inflated the seniority of this anti-Trump “senior official” who is part of a resistance movement inside Trump’s own administration.

The Times editors — who stated in an introduction to the op-ed that they know who the author is — have refused to reveal that individual’s identity, ostensibly to protect the writer from potential blowback or career-ending punishment.

Perhaps just as likely is that they are protecting that person’s identity because it will be quite embarrassing for them if it is revealed that the “senior” official is in actuality some Trump-hating mid-level bureaucrat or low-level intern.

That’s if the op-ed was even written by a member of the administration at all, and wasn’t just some piece of fiction cooked up by The Times itself to smear Trump. (Hard as that might be to believe, it can’t be completely ruled out, given how fake some of the media’s “fake news” stories have been proven to be.)

Keep this in mind the next time somebody tries to assert how credible The New York Times is, when in reality it’s staffed by narrative-driven, leftist hacks who care more about pushing an agenda than actually reporting the news.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Writer and researcher. Constitutional conservatarian with a strong focus on protecting the Second and First Amendments.

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