NEW: Statement from NYT publisher A.G. Sulzberger about his meeting with POTUS. "My main purpose for accepting the meeting was to raise concerns about the president's deeply troubling anti-press rhetoric..." pic.twitter.com/6xdhAjczmp— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) July 29, 2018
President Donald Trump has long rallied against the press, accusing various media outlets of publicizing “Fake News” so much so, it became a household term.
The POTUS’ animosity for media outlets like The New York Times, CNN, NBC and The Washington Post reached heights where he deemed the free press, “the enemy of the American people.”
Some of the things Donald Trump has tweeted about the news media since becoming president: "truly bad people," / "the enemy" / "the enemy of the American people" pic.twitter.com/CoAHjDf08S— Ellie Hall (@ellievhall) June 28, 2018
Trump recently had a meeting with The New York Times publisher, A.G. Sulzberger, whose family bought the company in 1896. Since then, six generations of the Sulzberger family have run the Times.
The meeting was requested by the White House, as confirmed by Eileen Murphy, a spokeswoman for the Times to HuffPost.
“This was not unusual; there has been a long tradition of New York Times publishers holding such meetings with presidents and other public figures who have concerns about coverage,” Murphy wrote in an email.
The president went on to Twitter to talk about his meeting with Sulzberger, where Trump said the pair discussed “Fake News.”
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
However, later, when Sulzberger weighed in on the meeting, it turns out Trump’s tweet was rather vague of what conspired.
The meeting, which was apparently supposed to be “off the record,” was made public after Trump announced it to his over 53 million Twitter followers.
The tweet gave Sulzberger a chance to respond and clarify what actually happened during the meeting between him, James Bennet, the editor of the Times’ editorial page, and Trump.
“My main purpose for accepting the meeting was to raise concerns about the president’s deeply troubling anti-press rhetoric,” Sulzberger said. “I told the president directly that I thought that his language was not just divisive but increasingly dangerous.”
Sulzberger also said the pair discussed “Fake News” but not in the Trump’s tweet had fashioned.
“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,” he said.
Trump, in his tweet, falsely asserted the phrase, which refers media outlets as “enemy of the people” gained popularity on its own, despite the president repeatedly using it.
Apparently, Trump’s “good and interesting meeting” with Sulzberger did not have a lasting impact and he was after the media, all guns blazing, mere hours later.
He accused the media outlets of suffering from “Trump derangement Syndrome” and accused them of putting lives in danger as they report on “internal deliberations of our government.”
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! Freedom of the press also comes with a responsibility to report the news...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2018
...accurately. 90% of media coverage of my Administration is negative, despite the tremendously positive results we are achieving, it’s no surprise that confidence in the media is at an all time low! I will not allow our great country to be sold out by anti-Trump haters in the...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2018
...dying newspaper industry. No matter how much they try to distract and cover it up, our country is making great progress under my leadership and I will never stop fighting for the American people! As an example, the failing New York Times...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2018
...and the Amazon Washington Post do nothing but write bad stories even on very positive achievements - and they will never change!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2018
Trump might accuse media outlets of “Fake News,” however, more often than not; reports of internal riffs and impending firings turn out to be true.
In March, he accused The New York Times of “purposely” writing a false story about him being unhappy with his counsel on the Russian investigation.
The Failing New York Times purposely wrote a false story stating that I am unhappy with my legal team on the Russia case and am going to add another lawyer to help out. Wrong. I am VERY happy with my lawyers, John Dowd, Ty Cobb and Jay Sekulow. They are doing a great job and.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 11, 2018
However, two months later, Ty Cobb was indeed removed from his legal team.
Even during the meeting, Sulzberger said he repeatedly told Trump he was free to criticize if he didn’t like his administration’s coverage but the abrasive language used against the press is highly dangerous.
“Throughout the conversation I emphasized that if President Trump, like previous presidents, was upset with coverage of his administration he was of course free to tell the world. I made clear repeatedly that I was not asking for him to soften his attacks on The Times if he felt our coverage was unfair. Instead, I implored him to reconsider his broader attacks on journalism, which I believe are dangerous and harmful to our country,” he said.
Thumbnail/ Banner Credits: Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images/ REUTERS/Carlos Barria