“First it was the “the failing New York Times.” Then “fake news.” Then “enemy of the people.” President Trump’s escalating attacks on the New York Times have paralleled his broader barrage on American media. He’s gone from misrepresenting our business, to assaulting our integrity, to demonizing our journalists with a phrase that’s been used by generations of demagogues.
Now the president has escalated his attacks even further, accusing the Times of a crime so grave it is punishable by death.”
Sulzberger was referring to two Trump tweets that following a New York Times report about US efforts to target Russia’s power grid.
Trump claimed in the tweets that the Times report was “a virtual act of Treason by a once great paper so desperate for a story, any story, even if bad for our Country,” Trump tweeted. “ALSO, NOT TRUE! Anything goes with our Corrupt News Media today. They will do, or say, whatever it takes, with not even the slightest thought of consequence! These are true cowards and without doubt, THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!”
Sulzberg claimed that Trump’s aides assured the Times reporters that no national security concerns were raised by the story.
“There is no more serious charge a commander in chief can make against an independent news organization,” Sulzberger said in the op-ed. “Which presents a troubling question: What would it look like for Mr. Trump to escalate his attacks on the press further? Having already reached for the most incendiary language available, what is left but putting his threats into action?”
Sulzberger has confronted Trump in the past about inflammatory rhetoric against the press in meetings. But the two sides remain at odds.
“Mr. Trump’s campaign against journalists should concern every patriotic American. A free, fair and independent press is essential to our country’s strength and vitality and to every freedom that makes it great,” Sulzberger said.
Trump has also called on the Times to “immediately release their sources which, if they exist at all, which I doubt, are phony.”
The full op-ed is here.
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