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HORIST: Will the New York Times ever get back to journalism?

HORIST: Will the New York Times ever get back to journalism?

The New York Times recently reported a story claiming that the United States intelligence services have increased America’s ability to launch cyber-attacks on the  Russian energy grid.  The Times also reported – based on unnamed sources – this new more aggressive approach was intentionally kept from President Trump out of fear that he may countermand the new policy or may blurt it out to the Russians.  They just cannot stop spinning every news story into anti-Trump political propaganda.

The spin on the story — as it rolled across the anti-Trump media — is that the President is so inept and reckless that seasoned bureaucrats cannot tell him what is going on.   That was the message seeded by the Times and dutifully carried on both MSNBC and CNN by the networks politicized anchors, hosts and panelists.

As he is want to do, Trump responded in an attack on the Times – accusing them of treason.  It is yet another unfortunate example of the President using Twitter to expose one of his less attractive qualities – his knee-jerk combative and pugnacious style.  In doing that, he takes the oxygen out of the room for a more specific and persuasive response – and provides more grist for the anti-Trump media mill.  In that regard, Trump is his own worst enemy.

Trump went a bit too far when he accused the Times of treason.  Those – and other provocative words– are being used (misused) entirely too often these days.  Trump has been accused of treason, an asset or agent of Russia, a criminal without any basis in fact.  It is just all mindless name calling and should stop.

Despite Trump’s New York street response, there are a number of things very disturbing about the Times reports – and they could be, and should be, articulated in a more effective manner.

To the unbiased minds, the major concern with the story is that the Times – apparently with the aid of unidentified past and present employees of “the intelligence community” –has given a lot of publicity to a classified activity that should have been carried out away from the public forum – and especially away from the ears and eyes of the Russian government.  There does not appear to be any reason why the Russian government should be informed.  This has all the markings of what should have been a covert operation.  But then, keeping the national security as the key consideration would prevent a political attack on Trump.

In all the reports, it remained unclear if the story in the Times was built on illegal leaks from within the intelligence community.  Or was this something that was formally announced?  Since it was an exclusive with the Times, you can probably discount an official announcement.

Trump may have responded badly, but that does not mean that the Times can be absolved of doing harm to the country.  Would this story have received the “breaking news” treatment if not for the media’s ability to spin an anti-Trump narrative?  That is a more than fair question.

The other disturbing element is the fact – if the story is correct – that Executive Branch bureaucrats would take such action and conceal such major activities from the boss – the head of the Executive Branch.  As described by the Times, the informants all work for the President.  Distress that Trump actually IS the President has led Democrats and major portions of the press to promote a belief that senior officials within the Executive Branch are somehow independent – or quasi-independent — of the President.

Like Trump or not, for employees of the Executive Branch to intentionally operate outside the constitutional authority of the President is minimally inappropriate and arguably illegal.  To beef up the cyber attack on Russia is not some midlevel management decision.  It clearly must be authorized by the President.  It is something the bureaucrats can recommend, but not implement themselves.

One of the concerns expressed in the Times article is that the President would countermand the actions.  He could – and would have every right and authority to do so.  Those who think otherwise need to study the Executive Branch organization chart and the Constitution.

Finally, we are told by the Times that those involved were concerned that Trump would intentionally or inadvertently reveal the program to officials of other governments – including Russia.  That can hardly be a concern since the bureaucrats and the Times have already done that.

To conspire against the President’s authority in this way is figuratively a mutiny aboard the ship of state.  It is not, by definition, treason, as the President declared, but it is a betrayal of the Constitution and those bureaucrats’ sworn duty to “obey and defend” it.

Trump’s specifically calling the Times the “enemy of the people” is again too hyperbolic, but it is not easy to absolve the Times of wanting to hit at Trump regardless of any damage to the country – and to do it with unnamed sources is more than shameful.  It is a gross violation of what used to be called journalism.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. Roberta King

    Gray Lady DOWN!!!

  2. DAV

    No. The Lie-beral DEMONocrats have lost self control. They have surrendered their mind, their morals and their rational reasoning. They’re on a out-of-control train that cannot stop. It’s frenzied pack mentality and a hate pep rally on a global scale. This train will self destruct eventually- just a matter of time !

  3. RedBull

    So in short and on its face, to pitch the idea that Trump is a bumbling fool a long line of bureaucrats and press puppets did the very thing they suggest Trump would have done… but didn’t. And didn’t even see they were doing it. How far is that from the definition of insane?

  4. Syl

    Here is how stupid politicians who support term limits are: They tink it is novle to retire early because they believe in term limits. So there are never enough supporters left to get the job done. I wonder if any politician really wants term limits. It’s easy to pander when there is no chance of a majority ever supporting a law. Conflict of self interest.

  5. Cynic2.0

    Current journalism has been badly trivialized, bought, ‘pressituted’ by coastal urban “intelligent yet idiots” liberals turned odious radical destructive leftists which tentacles reached the once prestigious Columbia U. Pulitzer prize awarding the NYT’s false investigative Trump-Russia collusion debacle.
    Sad if cannot be redeemed and soonest.