Last week The New York Times published an anonymous op-ed by a "senior official in the Trump administration" entitled, "I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration."

The essay should not have been written anonymously, and The Times should not have published it anonymously.

Had the senior official written the piece under his or her signature and willingly accepted the consequences of so doing, the piece might actually have been the bombshell it has been portrayed as being. If the writer is, in fact, an official of some stature in the administration (as opposed to, say, another Omarosa Manigault Newman), writing a signed op-ed in The New York Times would have been an act of genuine protest and resistance. It might have made a difference.

Instead, it is merely another tranche of office gossip, part of a whisper campaign to take down a president.

I have no doubt that The Times knows and vetted the source and that the source is real. It would be hard to resist running a cri de coeur from deep inside a troubled White House. But The Times should have resisted the temptation. The Nugget will not publish an anonymous letter to the editor or opinion column - though in a small town, a letter-writer is putting himself or herself at potential social and economic risk by expressing an unpopular opinion. We simply believe that one should own one's opinion.

Period.

The Times argues that anonymity is the only way to deliver an important perspective to their readers. That's hard to swallow. There's nothing in the essay that hasn't been reported upon or alluded to repeatedly since President Trump took office. The op-ed lacks specificity. While an opinion column does not call for the same kind of scaffolding as a news story - even one built on anonymous sources - the "I Am Part Of The Resistance" piece doesn't give us dates, times, specific incidents on which to hang our hat. It doesn't give us much at all, other than the impression that the writer desperately wants to be regarded as one of the "good guys." And it must be noted that it seems rather odd if you are trying to mount an effective resistance to call so much attention to yourself.

There's not enough there to justify the exceptional decision to publish an anonymous screed.

In the same week, excerpts of Bob Woodward's forthcoming book, "Fear," painted a very clear picture of a staff compelled to conduct damage control on behalf of an inconstant, amoral and impulsive president.

And the president's own rage tweets offer a clear enough picture of his fitness for office.

The fact that the senior official took it upon himself or herself to write the "resistance" essay is the only news value the op-ed contains. Leaving it anonymous is tantalizing, not probative.

Which leads to the most troubling aspect of this affair: It's hard to escape the conclusion that The Times' actual intent in running the piece was not a journalistic one - "to bring an important perspective to readers" - but rather an effort to sow paranoia, rage and chaos in the White House, and across the fruited plain.

Mission accomplished. The White House is on a "rat hunt" and the rest of Washington is engaged in an entertaining parlor game. It is fair to ask: To what benefit and at what cost? The likely result is a still more rage-afflicted president, a staff willing to go to extremes to prove their loyalty, and an important journalistic institution that has cast a shadow over the legitimacy of its own motives.

Surely some of you have thoughts on this matter. Send them in. We'll publish them. But you'll have to sign your name.

Jim Cornelius

Editor in Chief