The New York Times ran an opinion piece on Tuesday in a classic genre of concern trolling titled “Why Are Democrats Jilting G.O.P. Voters Who Want to Like Them?” But the Times did not disclose the partisan nature of the writer — a right-wing operative who has blamed people moving away from religion for “slowly tear[ing] at our societal fabric” — instead only calling her a “freelance writer.”
“Under President Trump, a small slice of America’s electorate seeks a reason to call the Democratic Party home for the very first time,” the piece begins. “But without adequate hospitality to welcome them, they will disappear quickly.”
Ericka Andersen, who is identified by the Times only as “a freelance writer in Indianapolis,” speaks of her concerns on behalf of “persuadable audiences,” which include “Trump-averse, anti-abortion Christians (some of whom are white evangelicals),” “younger white evangelical Christians,” and “independents leaning right, who may have voted for Mr. Trump in 2016.”
But what qualifies her to speak for such people in the first place?
In an “ethically dubious” move, the Times does not disclose Andersen’s credentials. For one thing, she used to work for Vice President Mike Pence back when he was chair of the House Republican Conference. Indeed, she wrote a blog post at National Review in 2017 defending his practice of never dining alone with a woman.
“I’m glad I got the opportunity to work for Mike Pence,” Andersen wrote. “It’s done nothing but great things for my career.”
According to her LinkedIn profile, Andersen has also worked in digital media positions for such conservative organizations as the Heritage Foundation, Independent Women’s Forum, and National Review.
Andersen has recently written such pieces as “How the ‘Spiritual but Not Religious’ Are Driving Society’s Civic Decline” at the Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal site, and “Peter Buttigieg Loves God’s Creation When It’s A Rainbow But Not When It’s A Baby” for The Federalist.
In her Times piece, Andersen mainly plugs candidate Tulsi Gabbard and her stance on abortion, seemingly as a means to further Andersen’s own attacks against Democratic frontrunners Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren, as well as Cory Booker, Beto O’Rourke, and Pete Buttigieg.
If the Times wants to publish concerns about the Democrats’ direction and the appeal of their presidential candidates, it could do better than a career right-wing operative whose career the paper didn’t even bother disclosing. But instead of a piece that might have served a good-faith objective, all we get is a stink bomb that could further disrupt the party’s ongoing discourse during the primary process.
There’s an entire genre of conservative commentary with longtime Republicans begging for Democrats to adopt their positions, only to inevitably decline to support the party during an election. Andersen is no different. There’s no reason for the paper of record to play along with the charade.