Friday, September 7, 2018

New York Times Anonymous Op-Ed Nothing More Than Transparent Propaganda

Some editorial journalists have already observed that the anonymous op-ed in the New York Times regarding President Trump, published on January 5th, 2018, is possibly, if not likely, a fabricated piece of propaganda.
 
My wife brought the article to my attention, and as I read it, almost every paragraph stood out to me as a clever, but still obvious, attempt to destroy confidence in the President, while not affecting any changes, such as an impeachment that would indicate actual wrongdoing. Wrongdoing I might add, that has not been discovered despite three years of concerted effort by progressive provocateurs and failed investigations by our own respected law enforcement agencies.

The transparent methodologies present in the writing may not be as obvious to everyone, so I will explain, paragraph by paragraph, exactly what the writer is attempting to accomplish. With each paragraph, the original op-ed's text is in italics, and my explanation follows in plain text.

My reproduction of this copyrighted material falls under Fair Use, as my interpretation is as fair and reasonable as the original text, does not in any way impair the inherent value of the text to those for whom it was written, and generates no profits for me as my blog is free and the New York Times article is already freely available on the New York Times web site:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/05/opinion/trump-white-house-anonymous-resistance.html

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I work for the president but like-minded colleagues and I have vowed to thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.

This bold statement would be much more impressive if a name were attached to it. As the entire article is anonymous, it could have been written by anyone with access to YouTube and other social media. To assume the source is genuine without proof is the reader's first mistake.



The Times is taking the rare step of publishing an anonymous Op-Ed essay. We have done so at the request of the author, a senior official in the Trump administration whose identity is known to us and whose job would be jeopardized by its disclosure. We believe publishing this essay anonymously is the only way to deliver an important perspective to our readers. We invite you to submit a question about the essay or our vetting process here.

In this paragraph, we are treated to a convenient disclaimer that the New York Times believes will exonerate them when the truth is eventually revealed. Notice the characterization "important perspective" is used to further sell the alleged gravity of the contents. "Important perspective" is not typically assigned to any op-ed, as the reader normally decides whether or not the subject matter is important or relevant.



President Trump is facing a test to his presidency unlike any faced by a modern American leader.

This is indeed correct, thanks to the unceasing pernicious attacks on his character and mental faculties via the mainstream press that are consumed obsessively by the progressive Left.



It’s not just that the special counsel looms large. Or that the country is bitterly divided over Mr. Trump’s leadership. Or even that his party might well lose the House to an opposition hellbent on his downfall.

Notice how the three enumerated concerns are widely recognized complaints and negative prognostications of the Left. As the writer is allegedly an important figure in Trump's hand-picked administration, the likelihood that such an individual, specifically chosen for his or her conservative posture, would spotlight these is improbable at best.



The dilemma — which he does not fully grasp — is that many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.


First, a non-existent problem is fabricated by stating "The dilemma." Then the statement immediately following implies the very incompetence that the Left has been chanting about from day one of Trump's bid to run for president; another unlikely characterization of Trump by one of his own cabinet. The insidious nature of the entire article is in the last statement, which openly asserts there is a contingency of Trump's own cabinet that are working to subvert his allegedly questionable decision-making propensities. This paragraph sets the manufactured tone that the rest of the article draws from.



I would know. I am one of them.

Again, this would carry much more gravity with a name attached. For those cheering for the witch hunt, no identification is necessary.



To be clear, ours is not the popular “resistance” of the left. We want the administration to succeed and think that many of its policies have already made America safer and more prosperous.

This paragraph attempts to ensure the reader that the writer's (and alleged co-conspirators') intentions are pure and chock-full of integrity, thus setting the reader up to more likely accept the negative assessments that follow. To properly sell the article, the reader must be convinced that the writer is a trusted cabinet member, and no one with a progressive agenda would be tolerated by Trump.



But we believe our first duty is to this country, and the president continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic.

This paragraph supports the previous, and further supports the earlier passing attempt to paint President Trump as (unintentionally) incompetent. It should be mentioned here that in fact, at this point in his presidency, Trump has made many positive changes in our country, and has not actually done anything more detrimental to it than offending some Twitter subscribers.



That is why many Trump appointees have vowed to do what we can to preserve our democratic institutions while thwarting Mr. Trump’s more misguided impulses until he is out of office.

More support of earlier statements; another example to convince the reader that there is an inner circle of freedom fighters who will protect John and Mary American from an allegedly incompetent president, thus attempting to strip from Trump the credit for any and all positive changes he accomplishes from this moment forward.



The root of the problem is the president’s amorality. Anyone who works with him knows he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making.

This is an ad hominem attack, and one with no substantiation other than that the writer typed the statement on the page. Most readers are intelligent enough to recognize high-school-level rumors when they encounter them. There are people lining up as I write this to vouch for the president's character, and the truth in the real world is you can't buy that amount of loyalty in terms of sheer numbers.



Although he was elected as a Republican, 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.

No examples of this are provided, not even one. This statement thus falls into the same category of several previous statements, that being an unsubstantiated claim by an anonymous source. Furthermore, Trump has demonstrably done the opposite of what is claimed here: supported the First Amendment by not legally censoring his venomous critics, jump-started our country's economy in record time, and has never once acted against any existing policy that ensures our individual freedoms, nor instituted policies that would do as such. Check his actual record.



In addition to his mass-marketing of the notion that the press is the “enemy of the people,” President Trump’s impulses are generally anti-trade and anti-democratic.

Notice how Trump's statement about the disingenuous nature of the U.S. press is reduced to a "notion," as opposed to the direct charge it actually was. Then, this emasculated version of Trump's statement is included along with progressive opinions regarding Trump's well-publicized intention of making trade better for the U.S. than previous administrations, and also a fabricated non-sequitur for good measure, regarding his political loyalties to our country.



Don’t get me wrong. There are bright spots that the near-ceaseless negative coverage of the administration fails to capture: effective deregulation, historic tax reform, a more robust military and more.

This obligatory paragraph again allows the reader to continue suspending disbelief, as no one is completely evil, and it would have been even less believable if no positive nods were included by an actual cabinet member. It also throws a bone to those who don't trust the press, as an ingratiating measure.



But these successes have come despite — not because of — the president’s leadership style, which is impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective.

Had this actually been a senior official, and not a constituent of the progressive Left, he or she would still be reduced to disgruntled employee, not elevated to champion of the allegedly downtrodden people. And once again, the clear statement is made that President Trump is not responsible for the positive changes enacted during his presidency. No, instead, these gallant heroes who will conveniently remain nameless are allegedly improving our country while Trump allegedly bungles everything with unrestrained histrionics.



From the White House to executive branch departments and agencies, senior officials will privately admit their daily disbelief at the commander in chief’s comments and actions. Most are working to insulate their operations from his whims.

In the real world, not everyone will agree with everything their leader decides, be it the White House or a widget factory. This is merely more hearsay gossip that, true or not, has nothing to do with whether or not Trump is a good president. But again, this kind of high-school-level libel is nothing more than pandering to those who yearn for Trump's downfall.



Meetings with him veer off topic and off the rails, he engages in repetitive rants, and his impulsiveness results in half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless decisions that have to be walked back.

This is more gossip to make it appear that insiders are personally taken aback to the point they worry about our country's future. From an objective standpoint, it is opinion only and carries no weight in terms of what actually affects the American people. The characterization itself appears to illustrate a stereotypical dictator whose emotions supersede reason, and by that measure, is unstable and dangerous. No one in Trump's circle would assess him as such, unless they were fired and made accusations after the fact. Is Trump hard on his 'employees'? Yes. And he gets results. Steve Jobs is purported to have been horrible to employees at times. This was certainly offensive, but it had nothing to do with his effectiveness as a leader at Apple. People have made entire movies in admiration of Jobs. What does the leader of the free world get? Vilification from the Left.



“There is literally no telling whether he might change his mind from one minute to the next,” a top official complained to me recently, exasperated by an Oval Office meeting at which the president flip-flopped on a major policy decision he’d made only a week earlier.

Yet more gossip. As I recall, there was a previous president celebrated by the Left, one of whose nicknames was "Flip Flop." Changing one's mind is probably the entire reason why a president has a cabinet and a congress to help him make changes, as opposed to a dictator, whose every whim automatically becomes law. Our system is such that Trump or any other president couldn't be "anti-democratic," even if he or she wanted to be.



The erratic behavior would be more concerning if it weren’t for unsung heroes in and around the White House. Some of his aides have been cast as villains by the media. But in private, they have gone to great lengths to keep bad decisions contained to the West Wing, though they are clearly not always successful.

Again, the illusion is cast that the president is poised to ruin all sorts of aspects of our country, but because of a hidden group of honorable patriots, the day has been saved for all Americans, despite the allegedly oafish antics of our president.



It may be cold comfort in this chaotic era, but Americans should know that there are adults in the room. We fully recognize what is happening. And we are trying to do what’s right even when Donald Trump won’t.

Yet another thinly veiled invective that is a transparently Leftist characterization. Now child status is added to the growing list of insults leveled at our president in this article of literally unknown origin. A senior official truly concerned about our country, without a progressive agenda, would never stoop to these kinds of snide remarks. The snide remark is cleverly followed by yet another assurance that our country is safe and sound, but allegedly no thanks to President Trump. This plays directly into the irrational fears openly expressed by the progressive Left, who are afraid their entitled status will shrink instead of grow as time passes under Trump's conservative administration.



The result is a two-track presidency.
Take foreign policy: In public and in private, President Trump shows a preference for autocrats and dictators, such as President Vladimir Putin of Russia and North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, and displays little genuine appreciation for the ties that bind us to allied, like-minded nations.


Finally, examples of the writer's accusations. But instead of correctly painting the president as someone who is keeping friendly terms with potentially dangerous world powers, the writer instead raises ambiguous complaints of "little genuine appreciation" for allies, with no effective examples. This is a classic trick of propaganda: generate a non-existent connection between facts and opinions.



Astute observers have noted, though, that the rest of the administration is operating on another track, one where countries like Russia are called out for meddling and punished accordingly, and where allies around the world are engaged as peers rather than ridiculed as rivals.

The writer attempts to attribute humanitarian directives to anyone other than Trump, as though the president plays golf all day and pays no attention to decisions made about other important entities in our world by his own officials.



On Russia, for instance, the president was reluctant to expel so many of Mr. Putin’s spies as punishment for the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain. He complained for weeks about senior staff members letting him get boxed into further confrontation with Russia, and he expressed frustration that the United States continued to impose sanctions on the country for its malign behavior. But his national security team knew better — such actions had to be taken, to hold Moscow accountable.

In this paragraph, the writer assumes a moral high ground, and from that perch casts Trump as someone who would rather not punish wrongdoers. Nothing could be further from the truth, as Trump's constituents already understand. That Trump is hard on crime is a well-known aspect of his platform and administration, and the attempt to paint him otherwise is a waste of time to anyone paying attention. To use Russia in two examples so far, is directly playing to the progressive cheerleaders for the FBI witch hunt instituted as a result of Clinton losing the election.



This isn’t the work of the so-called deep state. It’s the work of the steady state.


Opinion, unsubstantiated by open observable facts, and cryptic enough to confuse readers with less political acumen. Therefore it plays to the reader as an authentic statement from a genuine "senior official."



Given the instability many witnessed, there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president. But no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis. So we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until — one way or another — it’s over.

This paragraph is damage control for skeptics. Surely, several high-placed people in the White House who are genuinely concerned for the welfare of the country would not hesitate to begin proceedings for impeachment if indeed there were truly a cause for alarm. The truth of the matter is there is no cause for alarm, and their pretext for this obvious contradiction of action is the writer's excuse that doing so would "precipitate a constitutional crisis." This is an empty rationalization because no constitutional crisis occurred during Nixon's impending impeachment before he resigned, and none would occur now. Once again, the writer paints the imaginary hidden group as noble, hopefully engendering the admiration and trust of the reader.



The bigger concern is not what Mr. Trump has done to the presidency but rather what we as a nation have allowed him to do to us. We have sunk low with him and allowed our discourse to be stripped of civility.

This is extremely transparent propaganda, which again plays directly into the publicly expressed accusations of the progressive Left. It additionally paints all Americans as victims, thus feeding the classic fears of victimology, a recognized impairment of Leftist ideology. It also paints Trump as perpetrator, when a contradictory truth of his term so far is his fierce loyalty to those who have been harmed, and a strong-willed determination to prevent future harm to all Americans, home and abroad. Furthermore, the second sentence assigns responsibility to President Trump for the incivility of our society, who was sworn in long after decades of Leftist agendas converted a loud portion of our nation's population into a collection of yelling, cussing, narcissistic and judgmental jerks.



Senator John McCain put it best in his farewell letter. All Americans should heed his words and break free of the tribalism trap, with the high aim of uniting through our shared values and love of this great nation.

This paragraph contains some obligatory terms for the Left, such as "tribalism" and "shared values." No genuine conservative would conflate national pride with tribalism; that is a pejorative term the Left uses to make conscientious Americans ashamed of being Americans. "Shared values" becomes meaningless in Left vs Right comparisons, because there are too many core values that diverge between those two majority factions. In terms of Trump's loyal constituents, there is no misunderstanding regarding his values, and the reason they voted for him is because they share those conservative values, not the family-corrosive values of the Left.



We may no longer have Senator McCain. But we will always have his example — a lodestar for restoring honor to public life and our national dialogue. Mr. Trump may fear such honorable men, but we should revere them.

Lodestar: another term, as others earlier in the text, designed to produce an effect of authenticity. Other journalists have already pointed out that the use of this word could be to intentionally point toward a specific individual who has used it publicly. Again, remember: this editorial could have been written by anyone with decent writing skills, a progressive agenda, and access to YouTube.



There is a quiet resistance within the administration of people choosing to put country first. But the real difference will be made by everyday citizens rising above politics, reaching across the aisle and resolving to shed the labels in favor of a single one: Americans.

This paragraph is the lynch pin of the entire article. The rule of seven is utilized, in a marketing sense, i.e. yet another reminder that despite a president who is allegedly incompetent, childish, out of control and capricious, there are undisclosed persons who are quietly saving the country from ruin. Then, predictably, the writer finishes by taking the president's own platform of uniting the country and turns it against him by implying that the very unification he has been determined to accomplish will only be achieved by individuals working together despite him.



The writer is a senior official in the Trump administration.

That we, as readers, are expected to just accept this assertion as fact without a name is ludicrous. As in any polarizing issue, minds are already made up, thus this well-timed op-ed merely bolsters the already vehement hatred of our conservative president. That hatred is grounded in nothing more than the foiling of the Left's desire to deconstruct our free and wealthy country and reshape it into their vaunted, egalitarian-outcome utopia that famously ignores the corrupt proclivities of human beings in their natural state, as witnessed time and again in recorded history.

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