NY Times publisher tells Trump anti-press attacks ‘dangerous and harmful’
WASHINGTON – Agence France-Presse
The publisher of the New York Times said July 29 he warned Donald Trump in a White House meeting that the president’s escalating attacks on the news media are “dangerous and harmful to our country” and “will lead to violence.”
On Twitter, the president blasted what he called the “anti-Trump haters in the dying newspaper industry,” calling them “very unpatriotic!”
The president’s meeting with Sulzberger took place July 20, following a request from the White House for what appeared to be a routine get-to-know-you session.
“Had a very good and interesting meeting at the White House with A.G. Sulzberger,” Trump said.
“Spent much time talking about the vast amounts of Fake News being put out by the media & how that Fake News has morphed into phrase, ‘Enemy of the People.’ Sad!”
Sulzberger, in a statement released hours later by the Times, said the president’s tweet effectively “put the meeting on the record,” and he described what appeared to be an unusually blunt session with the president.
“I told the president directly that I thought that his language was not just divisive but increasingly dangerous,” Sulzberger said.
“I told him that although the phrase ‘fake news’ is untrue and harmful, I am far more concerned about his labeling journalists ‘the enemy of the people.’ I warned that this inflammatory language is contributing to a rise in threats against journalists and will lead to violence.”
With some foreign leaders using Trump’s language “to justify sweeping crackdowns on journalists, I warned that it was putting lives at risk.”
Sulzberger concluded: “I implored him to reconsider his broader attacks on journalism, which I believe are dangerous and harmful to our country.”
Beyond confirming that the meeting took place, the White House has provided no details. But Trump issued a string of four tweets a few hours after reports of the meeting emerged.
“When the media - driven insane by their Trump Derangement Syndrome - reveals internal deliberations of our government, it truly puts the lives of many, not just journalists, at risk! Very unpatriotic!” Trump tweeted.
When 37-year-old Sulzberger took over leadership of the Times from his father after several years as a reporter and editor, Trump tweeted that the young man’s rise gave the paper a “last chance” to prove itself impartial and to report the news “without fear or FAVOR.”
He has tweeted scores of times that the Times is “very dishonest,” “failing and corrupt,” and that it uses “phony and nonexistent sources.”
The Times has defended its reporters’ work and noted that, far from “failing,” it has enjoyed healthy growth, with 2017 revenue of $1.7 billion, up eight percent from the previous year.