We’ve rarely cover Donald Trump’s frivolous claims of fake news and attacks on the media anymore. Most of it has become white noise. But this past Saturday the president took things to another level saying the New York Times committed “a virtual act of Treason.” He was angry because the paper published a story “that the United States is substantially increasing Cyber Attacks on Russia.” The Times publisher himself, A.G. Sulzberger, says, “Few paid much attention. Many news organizations, including the Times, determined the accusation wasn’t even worth reporting.” But now days later, as the seriousness of the charge of treason sinks in, Sulzberger has written an op-ed about the allegation. That, in itself, isn’t unusual, but the placement of the opinion piece is significant. It’s actually printed in the Wall Street Journal. CNN’s Brian Stelter says that this is a “remarkable show of solidarity” writing that “The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal are arch-rivals. The two papers compete for scoops, subscribers and advertisers on a minute-by-minute basis. So Journal readers may do a double-take when they see (it).”
On the flip side New York Times readers may be surprised to see the newspaper tweeting a link to the WSJ.
Stelter adds, “Sulzberger reached out to WSJ editorial page editor Paul Gigot — and Gigot welcomed the submission.”
Here’s part of what Sulzberger wrote:
First it was “the failing New York Times.” Then “fake news.” Then “enemy of the people.” President Trump’s escalating attacks on the New York Times have paralleled his broader barrage on American media. He’s gone from misrepresenting our business, to assaulting our integrity, to demonizing our journalists with a phrase that’s been used by generations of demagogues.
Now the president has escalated his attacks even further, accusing the Times of a crime so grave it is punishable by death.
And he goes on to say:
There is no more serious charge a commander in chief can make against an independent news organization. Which presents a troubling question: What would it look like for Mr. Trump to escalate his attacks on the press further? Having already reached for the most incendiary language available, what is left but putting his threats into action?
This piece contains opinion and analysis