Breakfast Briefing: Place your bets. Who is the 'senior official'?

The vice president? Javanka? The butler? Speculation about who is the author of an op-ed in 'The New York Times' is Thursday morning's big buzz.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

Many of you, dear readers, have surely placed op-eds in major newspapers. But an anonymous guest column from a high-ranking White House official about how he/she and colleagues work to thwart the president’s agenda due to concerns about his fitness for office? That extremely rare type of op-ed, which ran without a byline in The New York Times on Wednesday afternoon, is all the buzz in media circles this morning. It’s hard to remember an op-ed attracting this much attention since Russian leader Vladimir Putin penned a guest post for the Times five years ago, ultimately bringing unwanted attention to Ketchum, which helped to place the missive.

So how did it happen? The op-ed was apparently not a response to revelations in Bob Woodward’s upcoming book. Cloak and dagger maneuvering, including an intermediary for the official reaching out to the Times’ opinion page editor, began about a week ago, according to CNN. Given the firewall between the Times’ newsroom and editorial page, journalists at the newspaper are as in the dark about the author as the rest of us, according to Vanity Fair. Bookmakers have their odds on Vice President Mike Pence and "the field," according to the New York Post.

A "frantic" search for the author. The West Wing in "total meltdown." "TREASON?" A "volcanic" reaction by the president. Media reports have described a chaotic scene in the White House as staffers hot-foot it to determine the identity of the author. President Donald Trump has demanded the Times "turn over" the official, which is very highly unlikely. Not to worry, social media detectives are on the case.

The NFL is back, which is great, other than for office productivity on Friday and Monday mornings. Nike has tripled (or is it quadrupled?) down on its "Just Do It" anniversary ad staring polarizing quarterback/activist Colin Kaepernick, paying for airtime during Thursday night’s season opener to run the entire two-minute-plus spot.

A top Papa John’s executive is exiting the company. International division president and chief development officer Timothy O’Hern is departing the pizza chain, but he will continue to operate nine U.S. franchises. His exit is not related to the company’s investigation into its diversity and inclusion processes, prompted by racially insensitive comments from founder John Schnatter in May, according to CNN.

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