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NYT publisher: Trump is 'encouraging threats and violence against journalists'

New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger said Trump’s ‘enemy of the people’ attacks on the press are inciting violence against reporters worldwide.

By Emily Singer - February 20, 2019
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Fed up with Trump’s dangerous attacks on the press, the publisher of the New York Times issued a statement on Wednesday saying Trump’s comments are putting reporters at serious risk of harm.

“As I have repeatedly told President Trump face to face, there are mounting signs that this incendiary rhetoric is encouraging threats and violence against journalists at home and abroad,” Sulzberger wrote.

A.G. Sulzberger said Trump’s “enemy of the people” rhetoric — a phrase Trump used once again Wednesday morning in an angry tweet storm directed at the New York Times — is “dangerous” and “has an ugly history of being wielded by dictators and tyrants who sought to control public information.”

Indeed, dictators like Josef Stalin and Mao Zedong were infamous for labeling their political opponents “enemies of the people” in order to justify jailing or murdering them.

In an audio recording of one of the face-to-face confrontations Sulzberger mentioned, Trump seemed surprised when Sulzberger informed him that murders of journalists are on the increase worldwide.

But that hasn’t stopped Trump from continuing to attack the press, including the New York Times specifically.

Trump deployed his latest “enemy of the people” attack after the Times published a bombshell report on Tuesday suggesting that Trump asked now-former Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker to obstruct justice by reinstating an ally to oversee the Michael Cohen investigation led by federal prosecutors in New York.

But Trump has consistently used the “enemy of the people” line whenever news stories are published that expose his corrupt or legally dubious behavior.

And it’s already led to violence against reporters — including at a campaign rally Trump held in El Paso, Texas, last week, when a Trump supporter physically attacked reporters stationed in the press pen.

Before the attack, Trump had been riling up the crowd against the media. And Trump never condemned the violent act after it was committed.

Ultimately, Sulzberger said Trump’s rhetoric won’t deter the New York Times from conducting dogged and accurate reporting on Trump and his administration.

“Through 33 presidential administrations, across 167 years, the New York Times has worked to serve the public by fulfilling the fundamental role of the free press. To help people, regardless of their backgrounds or politics, understand their country and the world. To report independently, fairly and accurately. To ask hard questions. To pursue the truth wherever it leads,” Sulzberger wrote. “That will not change.”

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation. 


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