NYT's 'Anonymous': Putting lipstick on a pig, English-style
"Putting lipstick on a pig" means trying to make something really ugly look prettier. In politics, it is an attempt to rhetorically embellish an otherwise bad policy or weak story. It was one of Obama's favorite phrases to describe Republican policies.
As with so many things verbal, the English say it better. Former mayor of London Boris Johnson recently referred to Prime Minister Theresa May's description of her Brexit strategy as "polishing a turd." What a wonderful phrase – marvelously succinct, and it cuts a lot deeper than "putting lipstick on a pig."
In an American Thinker article on September 7, contributor William L. Gensert analyzed the language used by the "anonymous senior administration official" in the scathing letter about the Trump administration that he sent to the New York Times. Gensert paid particular attention to the author's use of pronouns, and he concluded that "anonymous" isn't senior at all. Gensert thinks he was, at best, a low-level appointee who may not even have worked in the White house.
In other words, Gensert accuses the New York Times of applying lipstick to "anonymous" by elevating his position and thereby enhancing his opinions.
This may not be the first time the Times used this trick. Thomas Lifson reminds us that back in 2011, the Times variously labeled its single source for an anti- fracking article as "a senior industry expert," "an energy analyst," and "a federal analyst." It turned out that he was none of those. He was an intern at the Energy Information Agency.
In other words, the New York Times put lipstick on an intern to increase the credibility of his anti-fracking opinions.
When a witness in a trial is shown to have lied, the jury may properly disregard that witness's entire testimony. The Times is now witness to the reliability of the anonymous op-ed author. If the New York Times has lied about the status of that author, we may properly disregard everything else the paper has to say about him. We may disregard not only his supposed credentials, but also the Times' description of his employment.
"Anonymous" may be none other than an employee of the New York Times itself. And if this be true, then the Times is guilty not of "putting lipstick on a pig," but of "polishing a turd."