If you are aiding, abetting, and protecting a saboteur who has infiltrated the highest echelon of the American government, then you are, in the words of President Trump, “the enemy of the American people.” The New York Times, once lambasting this dig as “extraordinary,” has demonstrated just how fine the label fits by publishing an anonymous White House saboteur on its opinion pages earlier this week.
I am not entirely convinced that this “senior official” inside the administration is not a LARPing Times’ journalist. I would not find it beneath someone as cretinous as Bret Stephens or Charles M. Blow. But who knows? In any event, this amounts to a kind of propagandizing that would warrant plaudits from Comrade Andropov. And wouldn’t there be accomplices? This scheme would be difficult pull off alone.
CNN, for example, “resigned” three journalists, including an executive editor, for their involvement in a story that relied on an “anonymous source” who had the scoop on a fictitious “Russian investment fund with ties to Trump officials” and the nonexistent investigation thereof. After the network concluded that “standard editorial processes were not followed,” (read: they were caught misinforming the American people, and caught as the operative) CNN axed the trio, including Eric Lichtblau, then a CNN new hire but a veteran of the Times and a Pulitzer Prize recipient. It’s unclear what became of that “anonymous source.”
As an aside, let’s consider a recent story based entirely on faceless sources, one that began in The Atlantic and subsequently was promulgated by Reuters, Slate, Vanity Fair, the Washington Post, The Hill, and MSNBC.
The claim now “regurgitated” by left-wing media, as Julie Kelly reports, is “that House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) traveled to London to dig up dirt on ex-British spy and Trump-Russia dossier author, Christopher Steele,” and subsequently was snubbed by security officials in the U.K. The scoop comes entirely from “two people familiar with his trip across the pond who requested anonymity to discuss the chairman’s travels.” The intent here is to make Nunes look incompetent and spin the story to seem as if the real witch hunt is coming from the GOP and the White House. There’s just one problem: every detail of the original story, as reported by Natasha Bertrand for The Atlantic, has been denied by a spokesperson of the House Intelligence Committee. Kelly reports:
“While in London, Chairman Nunes did not discuss Christopher Steele in any meetings, he did not try to schedule any meetings to discuss Steele, and he did not seek out or request any information whatsoever related to Steele,” Jack Langer wrote to me in an email Friday. “It’s amazing how an utterly false story based on anonymous sources is uncritically re-reported by dozens of media outlets. Readers can determine for themselves whether these outlets are gullible or simply partisan mouthpieces for the Democrats—and those two things are not mutually exclusive.”
Bertrand’s story likely is fiction, yet it has become canon in the left-wing media’s war-narrative on the president and fed to the American people as the whole truth.
Subversion, Plain and Simple
This brings us back to the Times’ “anonymous” op-ed writer.
If we accept that this anonymous source is real, then he (the Times briefly tweeted the writer is a “he”) is indeed “part of the resistance” that is “working diligently from within to frustrate parts of [President Trump’s] agenda.” That is, he is working to frustrate the agenda which the American people elected the president to duly execute. This is patent and anti-democratic subversion: the process by which something, like the executive office, is contradicted or undermined from within.
The words subversive and subversion come from the Latin word, subvertere, which means “overthrow,” “destroy,” or “cause to topple.” If this anonymous source is real, it then follows that the Times is harboring someone with access to the White House who is working to see the president, at minimum, undermined, and ideally overthrown.
Intent is important here. Why does this anonymous subversive act? It does not appear to be because of some illicit activity by the president. If this was the case, such cloak and dagger tactics might be justified.
This person acts merely because he is an enemy to the president’s agenda, and by extension American people’s agenda, because, in his opinion, he knows better. Nobody elected him, but his judgment is superior. Like the overseers of the Times, he cannot accept the American people’s rejection of the old political order. Our anonymous scribe claims that Trump cares little for the “ideals long espoused by conservatives,” namely, “free minds, free markets and free people.” But the anonymous author’s actions undermine the very ideals he claims to uphold.
Forget markets. Just how free at all are Americans when rogue columns of their own government wage war against them to undo their will? Clearly, the American mind must not be allowed to be free, lest it commit mistakes like the election of Donald J. Trump. In fact, the regime that decides what qualifies as “conservative” is what Michael Walsh aptly calls the “Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Party.” In short, establishment Republicans are, in no meaningful way, distinguishable from their Democrat counterparts. As I wrote in Chronicles recently:
At the heart of the matter is a battle over agency. Do Americans have the freedom to live as they see fit? Are Americans free to demand policy that is aligned with traditional American values? Are they even free to think? Technically, yes. But it is the singular role of the intelligentsia, through manipulation and misinformation, to cow Americans into thinking only within the confines of the regime’s box, where they pose no threat to the regime’s power.
Whether the source is real or not, the Times’ editorial team published this story with the intent to sow the seeds of discord and doubt among the American people. The right thing to do would be to comply with the president’s demands to reveal the identity of this subversive. This move might have saved the Times from further disgrace. Instead, the Times will make unveiling the identity of this individual a Sherlockian contest, one that they initiated and one in which they have since declared themselves participants.
The Myth of Media Invulnerability
In shielding the identity of the author, whose views no one doubts are shared at least in part by the editorial team, the Times is revealing itself to be the enemy of the American people, just as the president said. Much of the present predicament has to do with the sense of invulnerability in which the media revels, and this is largely the result of so-called “professional” journalism.
Over the course of American history, journalism moved toward “professionalization,” from one-man printing operations, to the bureaucratized newsrooms we find today. From these informal beginnings, professional journalism has evolved into a technical profession complete with a code of ethics. This code, however, applies least of all to journalists, and functions more like window dressing that obfuscates the ongoing crime within.
Although it was earnestly intended to eradicate partisanship from newsmedia, the professionalization of journalism has simply institutionalized a once far more honest partisanship. It should be no surprise, then, that the Times unabashedly has shown itself a partisan against the president of the American people.
Organizations such as the Times, the Washington Post, The Atlantic, MSNBC, and CNN have made empires out of selling lies to the American people, parasitically engorging themselves with authority and credibility as they drain the public trust and lower the level of discourse. Like all parasites, their growth and sensory organs have been stunted, and now it seems that they may have overplayed their hand, blood-drunk on the deranged zeitgeist that they have fomented.
The Trump Administration has begun its hunt for the unknown “‘traitor’ among them.” The traitor’s accomplices, however, are known. The question is, will the American people hold their enemies accountable?
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