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article imageOp-Ed: NYT op-ed writer Taylor made a point — Why the bleating?

By Paul Wallis     Oct 29, 2020 in Internet
New York - Miles Taylor of Homeland Security was the insider who wrote an anonymous op-ed in The New York Times. The media thought it was a political insider like Mike Pence or Kellyanne Conway. A Tweetstorm has erupted, and wow, is it dumb.
Taylor’s admission of being the anonymous contributor comes a few years after the famous op-ed. At the time, the Trump administration’s war with the US intelligence services was at its height. This was major news at the time. The New York Times in its wisdom decided to allow Taylor to write anonymously.
That anonymity, also, has come in for some ineffectual flak. The New York Times, like any news media, has the right to publish anonymous information. The main criterion is whether or not the contributor knows what they’re talking about. The op-ed was titled I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration.
The op-ed focused on the resistance from government officials to Trump’s policies and agendas. It was pretty straightforward. There was a very negative reaction to Trump’s bombastic style, his selective understanding of issues, and therefore his policies.
It should also be noted that the op-ed had a clearly governmental administration perspective. It was about the moving parts of the government under Trump. That couldn’t have been clearer. At no point did Taylor imply otherwise, or that it was a politically-based resistance.
Taylor was at that time a policy advisor. He later became Deputy Chief of Staff. He interacted directly with Trump on several intelligence policy matters. So his exposure to the things he was writing about was firsthand. As a source for an op-ed, how much better can you do?
You can just feel all that conservative love, can’t you?
Media expectations of revelations from the political side tell a different story. Why would it be VP Pence or White House stable hand Conway, or a virtual phone book of other conservative people cited in various outraged Tweets? “Senior administration” doesn’t necessarily mean any political appointee. People seem to forget anything other than politics exists.
So let’s just map this:
• Homeland Security policy/C level guy couldn’t possibly know anything about anything.
• The New York Times doesn’t have the right to decide sources, anonymity or anything else about what it publishes.
• Trump has called Taylor a “fraud” and the op-ed a “New York Times scam”, a typical media reflex reaction usually reserved for a whole class of Americans. Trump has called for prosecution, which won’t happen under the First Amendment anyway, as anyone who’s ever read the Constitution would know… and he apparently doesn’t.
• The net takeaway from the op-ed has stuck and never really been questioned by others in government. The war within the administration is well-known to be true. It’s simply not credible to deny most of the US public sector has been up in arms against various Trump policies and “initiatives” since 2016.
• The right wing has spent 4 years proving it can’t manage criticism in any form. All it can do is call it fake, or deny it. This response doesn’t even live up to those lofty parameters.
• Presumably it would have been OK if the writer of the op-ed had been a major conservative person? They seem disappointed it’s not.
• Some other mainstream media seem to be following the right-wing line, too. The Washington Post, for some reason, says The New York Times and CNN have been “sullied” by the Taylor reveal. (Rather ironically, the WP article then points out that Taylor had good personal and practical reasons for being anonymous at that time and remaining so when questioned on the subject.)
Another trivial point – How do you make a point like that in a super-toxic environment?
Also kindly note:
The Trump administration obfuscates, obscures, corrupts, and distorts information like other people eat corn flakes. You can’t play nice in that environment. The sheer scale of turnover of staff, government jobs, and political appointees in this administration, has been astronomical. It’s a very nasty environment.
What was Taylor supposed to do, wear a bullseye? In the welcoming Death Valley aka the US government environment? The content of that op-ed, which some should obviously read, stacks up well both then and now. Taylor didn’t do anything wrong. He took the practical option to make a very important point. That point shouldn’t be obscured by such staggeringly unrealistic, simplistic perspectives.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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