Monday, July 30, 2018

"Fake News" - The President versus The New York Times

At 8:30 AM (EDT), on 29 July 2018, the President of the United States tweeted from his usual account (Donald J Trump  @realDonaldTrump)  one of normal comments.  It read:  "Had a very good and interesting meeting at 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!"  (The capitalizations are the President's own, not mine.)

  At 9:01 AM (EDT), on 29 July 2018, a tweet appeared from NYTimes Communications @NYTimesPR reading: "Statement of A. G. Sulzberger, Publisher, The New York Times, in response to President Trump's tweet about their meeting"   Following the link, one finds:

"Statement of A. G. Sulzberger, Publisher, The New York Times, in Response to President Trump's Tweet About Their Meeting

   Earlier this month, A.G. received a request from the White House to meet with President Trump.  This is 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.
  On July 20th, A. G. went to the White House, accompanied by James Bennet, who oversees the editorial page of The Times.  Mr. Trump's aides requested that the meeting be off the record, which has also been the practice for such meetings in the past.
   But with Mr. Trump's tweet this morning, he has put the meeting on the record, so A. G. has decided to respond to the president's characterization of their conversation, based on detailed notes A. G. and James took.
Statement of A.G. Sulzberger, Publisher, The New York Times:
My main purpose for accepting the meeting was to raise concerns about the president's deeply troubling anti-press rhetoric.

I told the president directly that I thought that his language was not just divisive but increasingly dangerous.

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.

I repeatedly stressed that this is particularly true abroad, where the president's rhetoric is being used by some regimes to justify sweeping crackdowns on journalists. I warned that it was putting lives at risk, that it was undermining the democratic ideals of our nation, and that it was eroding one of our country's greatest exports: a commitment to free speech and a free press.

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."

A little over four hours later, the President came came with a flurry four tweets, connected by a series of three dots behind and before.  At 1:09 PM (EDT) on 29 July 2018 from the account of Donald J Trump  @realDonaldTrump :
"When the media - driven 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...
... 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...
... 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...
... and the Amazon Washington Post do nothing but write bad stories on very positive achievements - and the will not change!"

I loudly and support the freedom of the press and the right to freedom of speech!  Too bad the President does NOT.   -  Sad!

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