Q: Did the New York Times admit that the anonymous op-ed essay it published was not written by a Trump administration official?
A: No. That claim was made up by a website that trolls conservatives.
An anonymous op-ed describing “the resistance inside the Trump administration” captured the nation’s interest last week. The New York Times, which published the op-ed, described the author as “a senior official in the Trump administration whose identity is known to us and whose job would be jeopardized by its disclosure.”
It prompted several administration insiders to issue statements denying they had written it, and President Donald Trump took to Twitter to call the writer “gutless” and urge the newspaper to reveal his or her identity.
The writer’s identity still has not been publicly divulged.
Trumpbetrayed.us, a website that describes its mission as provoking conservatives, has now capitalized on the mystery to claim: “White House ‘Resistance’ Mole a Fake – NY Times Admits They Were Trolled.”
Even though the story was written as a spoof, at least three other websites copied it and presented it as though it were legitimate news. Two of those websites are registered to an owner in Macedonia, and the other is registered to an owner in Pakistan.
Although the websites that copied the story don’t have a satire disclaimer, there are some clues that the story isn’t true.
For example, the story says “Art Tubolls” wrote the op-ed. But that’s the name of a fictitious character who often shows up in spoof stories from America’s Last Line of Defense, a network of websites that includes trumpbetrayed.us. Tubolls has been described on America’s Last Line of Defense websites as a spokesman for Michael Jordan, a Comedy Central CEO and a legal analyst.
Similarly, the bogus story claims to quote New York Times “senior editor John Pragerski,” but there is nobody by that name on the newspaper’s masthead of senior staff.
Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to debunk false stories shared on the social media network.
“I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration.” New York Times. 5 Sep 2018.
“White House ‘Resistance’ Mole a Fake – NY Times Admits They Were Trolled.” Trumpbetrayed.us. 7 Sep 2018.
“BREAKING: White House ‘Resistance’ Mole a Fake – NY Times Admits They Were Trolled.” Conservativepaper.us. 7 Sep 2018.
“BREAKING: White House ‘Resistance’ Mole a Fake – NY Times Admits They Were Trolled.” Theamericanews.co. 9 Sep 2018.
“BREAKING: White House ‘Resistance’ Mole a Fake – NY Times Admits They Were Trolled.” Thelibertynews.us. 7 Sep 2018.