I once asked a reporter known for writing hit pieces why journalists always write “X, real name Y,” when writing about people they don’t like while simply using the pen and stage names of those of whom they approve. She explained that it was for the same reason every statement by the target of the hit piece “claims” something even when it is a statement confirmed to be factual, to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the targeted individual.
Apparently the New York Times is now taking a similarly one-sided approach to the anonymity of sources:
A prominent pseudonymous blogger has shut down his site after a New York Times reporter refused to conceal his identity in a forthcoming piece, putting his livelihood and life in danger.
Psychiatrist Scott Alexander (his first and middle, but not last, name) has worked for years to cultivate a small but thriving intellectual community through his blog Slate Star Codex. That came to a halt Monday evening, however, when Alexander deleted the blog, replacing it with a post entitled “NYT Is Threatening My Safety By Revealing My Real Name, So I Am Deleting The Blog.”
The deletion was the culmination of a week of buzz that a Times reporter, Cade Metz, was reporting a story on Alexander’s site and the community it spawned, prompting widespread fears that Alexander would be the next figure “canceled” by a media exposé, possibly as retribution for his criticisms of modern progressivism.
Neither Metz nor his editor Pui-Wing Tam responded to a request for comment. Times vice president for communications Danielle Rhoades Ha told the Washington Free Beacon, “we do not comment on what we may or may not publish in the future. But when we report on newsworthy or influential figures, our goal is always to give readers all the accurate and relevant information we can.”
Alexander and others interviewed by Metz told the Free Beacon that they do not believe Metz wanted to write a “hit piece.” But Metz did insist that Times guidelines compelled him to disclose Alexander’s real name, derailing an interview with the blogger.
There is little evidence that such a policy exists at the Times, which has granted anonymity or pseudonymity to an Apple news executive, a left-wing podcaster, and even other subjects of Metz’s story.
The media is now wholly weaponized against America and against Western civilization, the Good, the Beautiful, and the True. And there is no excuse for still falling for the same lies reporters have been telling people for decades.
When Metz reached out, Alexander says, he wanted to discuss not these controversies, but the community SSC had built, in a largely positive way.
Sure he did. They use the same set of tricks every time. “I just want to let you tell you side of the story. I just want to understand this new thing that you’re the expert on. I just want to discuss this success that you’ve had.” First the bait, then the switch.
Most people are like toddlers being offered candy when it comes to the prospect of media attention. Perhaps it may help to keep this in mind: if it was going to benefit you, they would charge you for it.