WASHINGTON — The publisher of The New York Times on Sunday disputed President Donald Trump’s account of a private meeting concerning the president’s inflammatory language about the news media, particularly the terms “fake news” and “enemy of the people.”
Trump tweeted Sunday that he and A.G. Sulzberger, the Times’ publisher, had a very good and interesting meeting” at the White House.
“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!” he said.
That prompted a five-paragraph statement from Sulzburger, who said Trump had mischaracterized their meeting on July 20. He accepted Trump’s invitation for the meeting, Sulzberger said, because Trump’s language about the press had become “increasingly dangerous.”
Trump’s use of the term “fake news” will lead to violence against journalists, Sulzburger 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,’” Sulzberger continued. “I warned that this inflammatory language is contributing to a rise in threats against journalists and will lead to violence.”
Sulzberger, according to his statement, told Trump that he was not asking him to soften his criticism of stories he considered unfair but to “reconsider his broader attacks on journalism, which I believe are dangerous and harmful to our country.”
Trump regularly disparages news coverage that he doesn’t like as “fake news,” and has labeled the mainstream news media as an “enemy of the people.”
Later on Sunday, the president again was critical of the media, and the Times and the Washington Post in particular.
“I will not allow our great country to be sold out by anti-Trump haters in the dying newspaper industry,” he tweeted. “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 even on very positive achievements – and they will never change!”
At the Veterans of Foreign Wars annual meeting last week in Kansas City, Trump blasted the news media to the cheers of many in the crowd.
“Stick with us,” Trump said. “Don’t believe the crap you see from these people, the fake news. What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.”
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