The New York Times routinely lectures readers about the need for transparency. The public has a right to know who does what in the hallowed halls of power.
“What Happened to Transparency?” asks the headline of a Times editorial in 2014.
“The government should not keep information confidential merely because public officials might be embarrassed by disclosure … or because of speculative or abstract fears,” the editorial states, with this quote from then-President Barack Obama.
“An agency should not withhold information simply because it may do so legally,” exclaims the editorial, with this quote from then-Attorney General Eric Holder, Jr.
“Debate is meaningful only if it is open,” the editorial board implores.
New York Times Publisher Arthur Gregg Sulzberger emphasizes transparency in a Jan. 22 article titled “On Trust and Transparency: A.G. Sulzberger, Our New Publisher, Answers Readers’ Questions.”
Reader Cristina Chan asks: “How do you win the battle with ‘fake news’ and reach those who believe The New York Times is biased?”
“We still have more to do to help people understand why they should trust our journalism and to provide greater transparency into our reporting,” replies Sulzberger.
From the self-righteous arbiters of transparent government and media comes a journalistic felony for the ages.
The Times became the news last week after publishing an anonymous article titled “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration.”
The article describes a cabal of senior officials in President Donald Trump’s administration “working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.”
“I would know. I am one of them,” the author claims.
The writer professes an internal resistance operation that protects us from a president so unstable several cabinet members have considered using the 25th Amendment to “start a complex process for removing the president.”
This bombshell confession comes with only one not-so-minor glitch. Readers don’t know the author. They have none of the transparency the Times obsessively advocates. Americans only know “The writer is a senior official in the Trump administration.”
So says the Times. Mere mortals consuming news are supposed to simply trust them. Why? Because it’s The New York Times!
This is The New York Times that tells us former five-term Denver Mayor Benjamin Stapleton was a “powerful member of the Ku Klux Klan” and “Colorado is having its own reckoning” with the 1920s mayor. The story leaves out the part about Stapleton immediately turning on the Klan, working to destroy it from within, and ordering a raid that removed Klan members from city employment. It fails to mention how the Klan ejected Stapleton as an enemy among the ranks.
This is the same New York Times notorious for Jayson Blair, a reporter caught stealing and/or fabricated front-page stories throughout a four-year stint at the paper in the early 2000s.
This is the Times that recently tweeted a sophomoric and homophobic cartoon depicting Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin as same-sex lovers.
Once considered a dignified paper of record, the 21st century Times more closely resembles The New York Post.
Publisher Sulzberger was right in January, when he said the Times needed “transparency” if readers were to “understand why they should trust our journalism.”
The Times was right all those times the editorial board advocated transparency in government.
Yet, here we have a decision dispensing with transparency by the Times. It ostensibly assists a ranking White House official in hiding to avoid “speculative or abstract fears” — in direct violation of the creed repeatedly stated by the Times.
The journalistic profession mostly frowns on anonymous sources, using them sparingly as a necessary evil in pursuit of information. No credible media organization publishes an entire article written by a ghost.
Oozing with self-destructive hubris, New York Times editors expect us to trust them. We don’t.
THE GAZETTE EDITORIAL BOARD