On July 20, President Trump met with A.G. Sulzberger, publisher of the New York Times, and James Bennet, the paper’s editorial page editor. News of the meeting became public because the president tweeted about it:
Had a very good and interesting meeting at the White House with A.G. Sulzberger, Publisher of the New York Times. 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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2018
That prompted Sulzberger to describe the meeting to the Associated Press, while complaining about Trump’s criticisms:
The publisher of the New York Times said Sunday he “implored” President Donald Trump at a private White House meeting this month to reconsider his broad attacks on journalists, calling the president’s anti-press rhetoric “not just divisive but increasingly dangerous.”
Sulzberger, who succeeded his father as publisher on Jan. 1, said his main purpose for accepting the meeting was to “raise concerns about the president’s deeply troubling anti-press rhetoric.”
I suspect the president was more concerned about the press’s deeply troubling anti-Trump rhetoric. Trump has a considerably better case.
Sulzberger said he told Trump that while the phrase “fake news” is untrue and harmful,…
Heh. Recall that it was leftists who first used the phrase “fake news” in complaints about Facebook stories during the election. Trump has now co-opted “fake news” and made it his own.
…”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.”
Apparently the AP did not seek comment from Steve Scalise, Sarah Sanders or Kirstjen Nielsen.
Sulzberger added that he made clear that he was not asking Trump to soften his attacks against the Times if he thinks the newspaper’s coverage is unfair. “Instead, I implored him to reconsider his broader attacks on journalism, which I believe are dangerous and harmful to our country,” he said.
The Times has viciously attacked President Trump on a daily basis since the primary campaign in 2016, both in its editorials and in its news coverage. The paper has committed itself to the “Resistance” and is openly trying to destroy the administration. Nothing Trump says about the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN and other Democratic Party outlets is too harsh. They have completely abandoned traditional standards of objective journalism.
The AP goes to bat for the Times:
The president, who lashes out over media coverage of him and the administration that he deems unfair, has broadly labeled the news media the “enemy of the people” and regularly accuses reporters of spreading “fake news” — the term he often uses for stories he dislikes.
Is it true that the president has “broadly labeled the news media the ‘enemy of the people'”? I don’t think so. The Times itself made a similar claim on February 17, 2017:
President Trump, in an extraordinary rebuke of the nation’s press organizations, wrote on Twitter on Friday that the nation’s news media “is the enemy of the American people.”
But once again, the Times was peddling fake news. It referred specifically to this tweet by the president on the same day:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 17, 2017
Obviously, Trump’s tweet criticized the New York Times, ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN, not “the nation’s news media” as the Times falsely claimed. The AP’s assertion that Trump has “broadly labeled the news media the ‘enemy of the people'” isn’t borne out by any other Trump statements that I am aware of. In this tweet, for example, Trump called the Fake News Media the “real enemy of the people.”
The Summit with Russia was a great success, except with the real enemy of the people, the Fake News Media. I look forward to our second meeting so that we can start implementing some of the many things discussed, including stopping terrorism, security for Israel, nuclear……..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 19, 2018
Again, he was not referring to the press generally, but to news outlets like the New York Times and the Washington Post that habitually spread falsehoods about his administration.
Major elements of the press have a problem. They have made themselves part of the Democratic Party’s “Resistance” to President Trump. They have attacked the president in the most intemperate, and often false, terms. (See, for example, pretty much any New York Times editorial.) Naturally, he doesn’t like it and he hits them back. They deserve it, and in his conflicts with reporters and editors, Trump is more often right than wrong.
If reporters at papers like the Times don’t like being criticized by the president, they should secede from the Resistance and go back to practicing journalism. If they still remember how.