For journalists, the publication of the anonymous op-ed in the New York Times about the dysfunction of the Trump administration generated intense conversation regarding the ethics of what to publish and under what circumstances.
While many media outlets are comfortable protecting a source for a news story, they become squeamish about protecting the identity of someone expressing an opinion.
We recall protecting the identity of parents struggling with repeated incidents of sexual abuse against their daughter, and protecting the identify of a source who leaked a confidential report to the News about the future of the Stein Valley. This was at a time when the valley’s fate was a major provincial issue and a divisive, controversial issue in the Lillooet area.
It is the policy of this newspaper that we do not publish anonymous letters to the editor or opinion pieces, although people still submit them on occasion. Often, these anonymous letters are a way to settle a score with another person or business.
The Times’ op-ed writer strikes us as an individual who wants to have his/her cake and eat it too. He/she wants to blow the whistle on the frightening excesses of the American president while remaining within his government and employed at taxpayer expense.
The Times describes the writer of the op-ed as a senior official within the Trump administration. We trust the Times would only print this piece if it was written by someone at the cabinet or under-secretary level. Otherwise, the Times risks damaging its own credibility.
We believe the writer should do the honourable thing – reveal his/her identity.
Resign in a way that counts, testify before Congress and publicly lead the resistance against this amoral, lying, dangerous would-be tyrant. That is the principled thing to do and the writer would have much more credibility by taking those steps. Yes, he/she would be unemployed but others have sacrificed much more – their lives, for example - to preserve democratic values.