Brave New World: Anonymous Journo Bashes 'No Backbone' Republicans in NYT Op-Ed by Democratic Politician

Six of one...

February 6, 2020

Journalists at the New York Times typically pepper their stories with anonymous quotes from Democrats bashing Republicans. On Wednesday, the reverse happened. The Times published an op-ed by a Democratic politician who quoted an anonymous journalist, also bashing Republicans. Given the near-identical nature of the two professions, it was bound to happen sooner or later.

The Times piece, authored by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio), was a broadside against the Republican senators who voted to acquit President Donald Trump of the impeachment charges filed by House Democrats. Brown accused his GOP colleagues of being cowards who, above all else, fear upsetting the commander in chief. In an effort to make his case, Brown cites a "journalist" who allegedly asked him, "how in the world can these [Republican] senators walk around here upright when they have no backbone?"

NYT editorial writer Binyamin Appelbaum remarked that the paper was "inverting standard Washington practice" by publishing an anonymous quote from a journalist in an article by a Democratic politician. Again, a distinction without much of a difference, given the Washington press corps's general hostility toward Republicans.

On a related note, the Times's coverage of Trump's acquittal in the Senate was slightly different from the paper's coverage of former President Bill Clinton's acquittal on impeachment charges in 1999.

"Split Senate Clears Trump on Each Count in Finale of a Bitter Impeachment Battle," read the Times's front-page headline of Thursday's print edition. Not surprisingly, the paper's framing was more favorable when it came to Clinton's acquittal, which garnered the headline "Clinton Acquitted Decisively: No Majority for Either Charge."