The New York Times 'Anonymous' Op-Ed was a Failure of Journalism
By U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)
November 2, 2020
When The New York Times published the infamous "Anonymous" opinion piece by a "senior official in the Trump administration" in 2018, the media gave it wall-to-wall coverage and foreign propaganda outlets pointed to it as a sign of America's instability…
This week, the media learned that the author of the much-ballyhooed op-ed was—wait for it—the 65th-highest ranking official at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
This is exactly the type of clickbait, outrage journalism that has left so many Americans rightfully cynical about our nation's media.
It's also dangerous.
A press corps that prioritizes sensationalism in a race for ratings and retweets would be an unwitting partner to our nation's foreign adversaries, who are working overtime to push disinformation and undermine Americans' confidence in our electoral system.
As regimes like those in Russia, Iran and China try to divide us, it is more important than ever to call out the media's irresponsible behavior. Granting anonymity to a mid-level adviser and portraying his words as those of a senior official in the Trump administration was a grotesque failure of journalism. And, in undermining the faith our nation has in an objective press, it threatened our national security.
Our nation's enemies are well aware of the divisive state of our politics and the role clickbait, outrage journalism plays in stoking these divisions.
With Election Day just days away, I urge every American—including members of the media—to be cautious about believing or spreading unverified, sensational claims related to votes and voting. We should expect outside interference, and we should be prepared for it.
The good news is that state and local election officials are taking it seriously. They are in regular contact with federal law enforcement and cybersecurity professionals, and are working around the clock to ensure that Election 2020 is safe, secure, and reliable.
The question is whether members of the media—including powerful institutions like the Times—can rise to the challenge for the good of our nation.