The New York Times has abruptly changed its tune on the “Deep State,” a name given to the entrenched bureaucracy supposedly determined to work via secret machinations and selective media leaks to bring down the Trump administration from within. As Trump and his Republican allies railed against the “Deep State,” The Times typically mocked the very idea as a phony conspiracy theory.
The headline under a March 2017 analysis by the paper’s “Interpreter” Max Fisher is self-explanatory: “What Happens When You Fight a ‘Deep State’ That Doesn’t Exist.”
Another story that month was aghast at the charge:
President Trump’s allegations that former President Barack Obama tapped his phone and his assertions that the bureaucracy is leaking secrets to discredit him are the latest signs of a White House preoccupation with a “deep state” working to thwart the Trump presidency....It is an extraordinary contention for a sitting president to make....Veterans of prior administrations have been alarmed by the charge, arguing that it suggests an undemocratic nation where legal and moral norms are ignored.
In May 2018, a lead story rushed to tar Trump’s criticism of the “deep state” and the mainstream press as corrosive, paranoid, and conspiratorial: “Trump’s Embrace Of ‘Spygate’ Plot Sows Suspicions -- Eroding Public Trust -- Conspiracy Theories Are Brought From Fringes to the Oval Office.”
A December 2018 story snarked:
President Trump has long tried to explain away his legal troubles as the work of a “deep state” of Obama supporters entrenched in the law-enforcement and national-security bureaucracies who are just out to get him. Now junior officials and others accused of wrongdoing are making the case that the same purported forces are illegitimately targeting them, too.
But The Times has changed its tune in startling fashion. Now the Deep State is real, and it’s a wonderful thing. That idea was stated most baldly in an op-ed in the Sunday Review, “Why We Have a ‘Deep State.” The news trend has showed as the Ukraine controversy (instigated by an anonymous, partisan whistle-blower) threatens to swallow Trump’s presidency in impeachment proceedings, and the reality of a hostile anti-Trump clique within his government has become too obvious to deny.
An October 24 lead story casually, and approvingly, assumed the existence of the “Deep State”: “Trump’s Battle On ‘Deep State’ Turns on Him -- Once Disparaged, Now Speaking Out.” The lead writer, White House correspondent Peter Baker, wrote: “The witnesses heading to Capitol Hill do not consider themselves part of any nefarious deep state, but simply public servants who have loyally worked for administrations of both parties only to be denigrated, sidelined or forced out of jobs by a president who marinates in suspicion and conspiracy theories.”
Baker and company were obliged to admit:
But it is also true that some career officials, alarmed at what they saw inside the corridors of government agencies, have sought ways to thwart Mr. Trump’s aims by slow-walking his orders, keeping information from him, leaking to reporters or enlisting allies in Congress to intervene. And so what is “karmic justice” for the career establishment feels like validation to Mr. Trump and his circle that they were right all along.
One of the first changes came from Times columnist James Stewart (pictured), who bragged about the Deep State’s effectiveness while talking about his book Deep State on NBC’s Today, hailing bureaucrats undermining the Trump administration as noble public servants “protecting the Constitution.” Stewart even admitted: “Well, you meet these characters in my book, and the fact is, in a sense, he’s right. There is a deep state...”
Now they tell us.