On Wednesday, the New York Times published an anonymous piece in their op-ed section from a current Trump administration official with the intention of spreading devastating claims about the unhinged man in the Oval Office.
Releasing such a piece during a week in which mainstream outlets have slobbered over the upcoming Bob Woodward book, Fear: Trump in the White House, was meant to be a smart move. Arrows from more than one corner at the same time are meant to inflict significant damage upon an enemy. This was their thinking.
But the op-ed is not a slam dunk for the media. It’s not even close to groundbreaking. Frankly, the contents are a bit of an expected bore.
Here are a few reasons why the opinion piece, meant to so disrupt and hurt the administration, is more of a disaster for the media than anything else.
Absolutely Nothing Is a Bombshell
If there’s one good reason to publish a behind-the-scenes look at politics inside the White House while offering complete protection for the author, it’s because the revelations are entirely shocking. The contents would have to be utterly damaging to justify the secrecy. With this op-ed, that kind of material is just not there.
These are but a few of the “ruinous” statements.
“Anyone who works with him knows he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making.”
“…the president shows little affinity for ideals long espoused by conservatives: free minds, free markets and free people. At best, he has invoked these ideals in scripted settings. At worst, he has attacked them outright.”
“Meetings with him veer off topic and off the rails, he engages in repetitive rants…”
My apologies, but are these meant to surprise those of us in the audience? You mean to tell me that President Trump governs as a populist Republican and not a conservative? That he is excellent at sticking to scripted remarks but when off the written page, gives in to his own personal diatribes? That the same man whose Twitter account is full of late night tirades and brash insults is prone to the same behavior in real life, while meeting with those beneath him?
Dear anonymous Trump subordinate: you’re more than two years behind the American people. Whether voting for or against the eventual victor on November 8, 2016, we have been aware of these supposed revelations all along.
The Author’s Self-Interest Is Glaringly Apparent
Plenty of the reaction to the op-ed has been comical, to say the least. I can almost see the big shots at the New York Times mentally (or physically) high-fiving one another as they were about to release the “explosive” article into the atmosphere.
While some certainly believe the piece is a nail in the proverbial coffin, others have turned their rage toward the author instead of the subject matter. After all, the unknown individual is so deeply disturbed by what they see around them they they’re staying put. They believe that while the 45th president has stripped the country and its people of civility, they should get up for work tomorrow and go about business as usual. This anon agrees so deeply with the words of the late Senator John McCain, about not giving in to tribalistic tendencies, that they’ve decided to dig their heels in and remain on the team.
Give me a break.
It’s obvious that the author’s self-interest is more important to them than doing the right thing. If this wasn’t the case, he/she would have resigned first before releasing a tell-all. What a contradiction to stay and help a president ruin the country…while writing about how awful it is that the president is ruining the country. Whether you agree with the idea that we’re living in dangerous times because of Trump or not, you’ve most likely chosen a side. The op-ed’s author enjoys having a foot in both camps in an attempt to assuage themselves of a measure of personal guilt. It’s really amazing.
This Would Never Be Published During Another Administration
Can you imagine the uproar if a senior Obama administration official had petitioned a major media outlet to publish a scandalous piece about the commander-in-chief? The piece, the author, and the outlet would be dismissed as a serious breach of precedent and protocol. There would be endless roundtable discussions about how sad and dangerous it is to give in to that sort of partisan journalism. The mole would be disgraced and hounded on front pages and front covers nationwide until they quietly stepped down, afraid of what they had begun.
But that’s all just speculation at what would happen if the tables were turned. We’re aware that nothing of the sort would fly under a Democratic administration. Frankly, it should never be allowed.
I have made it clear that I’m no fan of the president. I try to call things as I see them and have praised him more than once in my writing. While I’m concerned about the future of conservatism, I am still able to admit when his administration has done well or when I have been wrong.
While I find President Trump’s character to be questionable and his tactics concerning, I don’t support an anonymous hit job by a current employee who feels it necessary to warn Americans of what we already know while staying to help a man who they contend is a monstrous force for bad on the country at large.
It’s a sad, amusing, desperate attempt by a confused, cowardly individual. And because the media is running with it, they’ve committed a major blunder.
While the piece is probably not a fake, it is most definitely not news.