The New York Times is playing us, and the media is eagerly falling for the paper's big con. The con the Times is running is their claim they could not reveal the information in the now famous "senior administration official" anonymous op-ed except by allowing the source to write anonymously. The Times also covertly expects us to take the op-ed, not as an opinion piece, but as hardcore breaking news mixed with some opinions by the author(s). It's all a big scam for the Times to make allegations of fact by proxy while distancing itself from its journalistic obligation to verify facts alleged by hiding behind the wall of an anonymous op-ed. It suits their agenda while shielding them from backing it up. There are five categories or ways the New York Times and any other reputable journalistic news source can define how to use information it learns from a person that it deems credible such as the "anonymous senior official." They are: On the record; Off the record; Not for attribution; Background; Deep background. We all understand "on the record." But few people fully understand the other four categories. Off the record: The information from this source may not be used at all. If you can get the same information from another source, you may use it, but you may not attribute it to the source who told it to you off the record. Not for attribution: You may use the information as background, but not identify the source. Background: This is similar to "not for attribution." Generally, it means that you may use the information but can't attribute it. Some reporters define background as the ability to use the information with a general attribution such as "an administration official said." If you are in doubt during the interview, ask the source how you can identify her or him, and give the specific wording you intend to use. Deep background: This term is rarely used or understood by most sources except for officials in Washington D.C. It means you may use the material for your information only but may not attribute it at all, not even with a general term, such as "government of official." What reasonable good-faith person or any journalist could not have handled the information as a hard news story using any of the five categories above? Of course, there is no reason not to do so unless one wants to spread news but not be held accountable for its accuracy. Meanwhile, the rest of the rabid media doesn't care about the Time's journalistic con because the anonymous quotes offers up food for the always ravenous media. Consequently, the rest of the media just skips over the misconduct and focuses only on non-attributed allegations.