- New York Times reporter Edmund Lee has received more than a dozen phone calls from people trying to call about the op-ed an anonymous Trump administration official published in the paper on Wednesday.
- Lee’s co-worker says he’s been receiving the calls because the newspaper’s automated switchboard gets the word “op-ed” confused with “Ed.”
- One of the callers allegedly told Lee that whoever wrote the piece should “be hung.”
Angry defenders of President Donald Trump have been calling The New York Times to complain about the recent op-ed written by a rogue anonymous Trump official, but thanks to an automated switchboard, they keep getting sent to the wrong desk.
The unnamed senior official wrote in the piece that he or she is one of “many” in the administration who are “working diligently from within to frustrate parts of [Trump’s] agenda and his worst inclinations.”
The op-ed was met with a stern statement from White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who tweeted out the newspaper’s phone number on Thursday and urged those who want “to know who this gutless loser is” to call the Times and ask for themselves.
15 calls in the last hour plus. 12 negative. 3 positive. 1 suggested the op-ed writer needs to "be hung." Here all day folks. https://t.co/aFKUflXuXA
— Edmund Lee (@edmundlee) September 6, 2018
It appears that many Trump fans have heeded the call, but are having a hard time reaching the op-ed desk.
On Thursday, Times tech reporter Kevin Roose asked his followers on Twitter to “pray” for his colleague, media reporter Edmund Lee, “who is getting flooded with calls from angry Trump supporters because the automated switchboard thinks ‘Op-Ed’ sounds like ‘Ed.'”
Lee responded to the tweet around 2:30 p.m., saying that in the last hour he had already received 15 calls – 12 negative and three positive.
“[One] suggested the op-ed writer needs to ‘be hung.’ Here all day folks,” Lee wrote.
According to his biography on the newspaper’s website, Lee “has reported on major changes at news and entertainment companies, including 21st Century Fox, Comcast and The Walt Disney Company.”
In other words, he probably knows no more about the op-ed writer’s identity than those calling him.
Op-ed page editor Jim Dao told The Times’ “Daily” podcast that the author went through an intermediary several days ago to publish the piece. Dao wouldn’t go into much more detail, but said that only a “very small number of people within the Times” know the writer’s identity.
Dao said he couldn’t imagine any circumstances in which The Times’ opinion section would identify the author.
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