The New York Times has long boasted that it is the source for “all the news that’s fit to print.”
For everything else, apparently, there’s WikiLeaks.
Now some members of headstrong Internet force Anonymous have declared war on the Times. They claim that the Times, a former WikiLeaks media partner they describe unsympathetically as “Thomas Friedman's syphilitic dominatrix,” is not only failing to cover major stories revealed by WikiLeaks’ Stratfor and HBGary leaks, but that they are actively suppressing their discussion.
The Anonymous Declaration of #OpNYT was released Wednesday on Pastebin (the text-hosting site which is to Anonymous what the door of Wittenberg’s All Saints' Church was to Martin Luther). It lists the main beefs, which boil down to: the Times’ ignoring or downplaying the TrapWire story, a Times reporter’s leaking a story to the CIA before publication with the classic notation, “This didn’t come from me,” and a declaration of support for arrested Anons and alleged Anons including Jeremy Hammond.
Death to this horrid paper. For the present, we will simply extend the bounds of sanity to the extent possible by spreading these and other failures of the New York Times by attaching the info to those deeds to come, and by encouraging all Anons to assist in this brief engagement, done in conjunction with #OpTrapwire and #OpBigBrother. Incidentally, the apparent changing of a New York Times website administrator password earlier today was, although amusing if true, not in accordance with generally-accepted Anonymous tradition of non-aggression via hacking or DOS towards publications not run (officially) by the state. Gawker has been only exception, lol Kayla.
Anonymous members followed up Friday with a new post, titled “The Secret History of the New York Times's National Security Failures,” in which they reiterated that the password change was not in accordance with typical Anon etiquette, although a relatively harmless, showoffy prank.
They went on to insist that the Times’ suppression of the TrapWire story “is not merely bad journalism or a disagreement over what merits coverage; it is another instance in which the Times has used its position in such a way as to confuse the populace, the media, and the officials of the republic while providing them with undue assurance as to the secret dangers we face from a sector whose crimes require shadow and silence.”
The second manifesto is, if possible, more grandiose than the first, but not entirely devoid of a sense of lulz. “The Times has yet to apologize to the CIA employee in question for forcing her to read a Maureen Dowd column,” the authors note, with some concern.
Anonymous also leaked emails and chat transcripts, although doing so is very much against the Anonymous ethic wherein chats are never logged (for reasons of personal protection). It seems that rule is suspended when they chat with Times reporters. Fair enough: Reporters log everything. The transcripts and emails document Anons' failed attempts to get Times coverage of various stories.
In particular they singled out OpCartel, a nebulous Op in retaliation for an alleged kidnapping of an Anonymous member by the Zetas drug cartel, and HBGary reports of leadership struggles within Anonymous, as well as the TrapWire story.
It’s not the first time Anonymous has taken on the Times, and it almost certainly won’t be the last, but in the meantime it is unclear what OpNYT is supposed to accomplish, other than listing examples of stories the Times hasn’t covered. It’s also unclear just how many Anons are involved in the operation, as most of the major Anonymous Twitter accounts have ignored the initiative. One tweeter suggested that it could even be a one-man operation by Barrett Brown, a mediagenic figure always ready to speak on the record about Anonymous.
Whatever the size of OpNYT, it seems the Grey Lady and at least some parts of Anonymous are deep into the aftermath of a bad breakup, and it’s anyone’s guess what happens next.
Photo via wikileakstruck/Flickr