The war is on.
There’s no doubt many “career servants” who work within the federal bureaucracy don’t agree with, or even like, President Donald Trump.
As the Environment & Energy Publishing reported after the election: “U.S. EPA employees were in tears. Worried Energy Department staffers were offered counseling. Some federal employees were so depressed, they took time off. Others might retire early.”
John O’Grady, president of American Federation of Government Employees Council 238, a union that represents thousands of EPA employees, told the publication, after Mr. Trump’s win: “People are upset. Some people took the day off because they were depressed.”
About one in four government employees said they would consider quitting their job if Mr. Trump won because they couldn’t do their work under his leadership.
So naturally, this would be a great group of people to interview for, you know, some objective reporting.
Eager to get whatever scoop they can that makes Mr. Trump look bad, mainstream media reporters have taken to social media to recruit federal employees to leak to them.
“Here’s how to leak government documents to The Post (and take the precautions you should take,” Aaron Blake, a senior political reporter for The Washington Post, wrote on Twitter, linking to a self-made “how to” guide on whistleblowing.
The Intercept also made a plea, with guidance on how to leak.
“A reminder to federal employees: if you see something, leak something. Here’s how to do it safely,” it Tweeted.
Attaching a link about how to leak, ProPublica wrote: “This is the most popular page on ProPublica right now Keep it up. Spread the word. We’re listening.”
The Nashville Scene echoed: “If you’re a federal employee in Nashville and have info to leak about what’s happening to your agency, get in touch. We protect sources.”
Even Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill got in on the action, tweeting: “Any federal employee who wants to visit, we will listen. We will protect you. email@example.com 202-224-2630.”
Now, I’m all about protecting whistleblowers — for coming out and exposing corruption or fraud within their agencies. But if it’s to just complain about Mr. Trump and whine about his winning? Sorry, that’s not news, that’s bureaucratic partisanship. We already know many of you are upset.
And the majority in the press are also upset. So they want to sympathize.
What they jeopardize is doing further damage to their profession and its legitimacy. These government sources are hardly unbiased or without motive. Giving them an unfettered voice so that reporters can print negative news stories about Mr. Trump will hardly make them look objective.
It will — for sure — be a journalistic tightrope walk.
Which I bet will backfire, and help Mr. Trump.
For you’d be hard-pressed to name two other intuitions — the federal bureaucracy and the mainstream media — who are more disliked by the American public. So yeah, team up. I’m sure it will turn out great.