The New York Times anonymous publications

The New York Times occasionally allows the publication of an anonymous op-ed piece when there is concern over the consequences of publishing the author's real name. Only a handful of anonymous pieces have been published by The New York Times throughout its history.[1] The context and process of anonymous publications were discussed with readers in 2018, under the form of a "Frequently Asked Questions" article.[2]

List

DateTitleAnonymity rationaleContext
January 23, 1972 Why Do Homosexual Playwrights Hide Their Homosexuality?[3] "[Only] the rich, the self-employed or the social outcast has nothing to fear from being labeled a homosexual. Freedom, even in 1972, is something one must be able to afford. No one who has a regular desk job in industry – as I do – can be startled by my action. They know that instant dismissal, as well as investigation of their friends, would follow as a matter of course."[3] In the Arts and Leisure section. The author, identified by the pseudonym Lee Barton, writer of the play Nightride, was concerned by social and economic consequences of outing.
January 4, 1990 The Soviets' Terminal Crisis[4] "The following article is adapted from the conclusion of a longer historical analysis to be published under the pseudonym 'Z' in the Winter issue of Daedalus, Journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Daedalus is withholding the author's name from all parties at the author's request. (Although it is not the New York Times's usual practice to withhold an author's identity, it is honoring Daedalus's commitment)."[4] Dissolution of the Soviet Union. The author later revealed himself as Martin Malia.[5]
June 18, 2009A Different Iranian Revolution[6]"This article was written by a student in Iran who, for reasons of safety, did not want to be identified by his full name."[6][1]In the context of then-ongoing 2009 Iranian protests.
January 14, 2016Living Under the Sword of ISIS in Syria[7]"[The author being from] Raqqa using a pen name to protect him from being targeted by the Islamic State".[2]Author lived in Raqqa city, then controlled by Islamic State group.
March 31, 2016A Syrian Refugee’s Message to the European Union[8]"[Author] asked that her surname be withheld because she fears telling her story could endanger her family in Syria or affect her asylum claim"[8] and "a Syrian refugee in Greece, using her first name only because her family in Syria faced threats".[2]Syrian Civil War, Refugees of the Syrian Civil War, European migrant crisis.
June 25, 2018What My 6-Year-Old Son and I Endured in Family Detention[9]"The author wrote on the condition of anonymity because of the gang-related threats she and her family face in the United States and in El Salvador"[9] and threat of deportation, the author being an undocumented immigrant in the U.S.[1] and asylum seeker.[2]Immigrant detentions and family separations under the direction of Donald Trump.
September 5, 2018I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration[10]"[A]t 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."[10]One and a half years after Donald Trump became President of the United States, calls for impeachment, frequent White House leaks and coming 2018 United States elections.[11] Author revealed to be Miles Taylor, a former Department of Homeland Security official.[12][13]

Reactions

President Trump called for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate the source of the "I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration" essay, sparking calls to defend both the anonymity of the source and the freedom of the press.[14]

References

  1. Grynbaum, Michael M. (September 5, 2018). "Anonymous Op-Ed in New York Times Causes a Stir Online and in the White House".
  2. "How the Anonymous Op-Ed Came to Be". The New York Times. September 8, 2018.
  3. Barton, Lee (January 23, 1972). "Why Do Homosexual Playwrights Hide Their Homosexuality?". The New York Times. Retrieved September 9, 2018.
  4. Z (January 4, 1990). "The Soviets' Terminal Crisis". The New York Times. Retrieved September 9, 2018.
  5. Graubard, Stephen R. (1990). ""Daedalus" Report: The Mystery of Z". Bulletin of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 44 (2): 7–13. doi:10.2307/3824878. JSTOR 3824878.
  6. M., SHANE (June 18, 2009). "A Different Iranian Revolution".
  7. "Living Under the Sword of ISIS in Syria". The New York Times. January 14, 2016.
  8. Leila (March 31, 2016). "A Syrian Refugee's Message to the European Union".
  9. "What My 6-Year-Old Son and I Endured in Family Detention". June 25, 2018.
  10. "I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration". The New York Times. September 5, 2018.
  11. Burns, Alexander; Vogel, Kenneth P. (September 8, 2018). "Top Trump Adviser Says Ted Cruz Could Lose Texas Senate Race".
  12. Shear, Michael D. (October 28, 2020). "Miles Taylor, a Former Homeland Security Official, Reveals He Was 'Anonymous'" via NYTimes.com.
  13. CNN, Jake Tapper and Jeremy Herb, October 28, 2020 "Author of 2018 'Anonymous' op-ed critical of Trump revealed" https://www.cnn.com/2020/10/28/politics/anonymous-new-york-times-oped-writer/index.html
  14. "Trump calls on Sessions to investigate anonymous NYT op-ed". September 8, 2018.
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