A.G. Sulzberger, editor of The New York Times, slammed Donald Trump for crossing a line in accusing the newspaper of committing ‘treason.’
The publisher said in an op/ed published to the Wall Street Journal that the president’s escalation in attacks on the Times has gone from misrepresentation to a full-on assault.
‘[T]he president has escalated his attacks even further, accusing the Times of a crime so grave it is punishable by death,’ he wrote in the article, adding that people have become so desensitized to the president’s attacks on the media that many outlets didn’t even cover the comments, including his own.
‘Few paid much attention. Many news organizations, including the Times, determined the accusation wasn’t even worth reporting, a sign of how inured we’ve grown to such rhetorical recklessness,’ he continued. ‘But this new attack crosses a dangerous line in the president’s campaign against a free and independent press.’
New York Times Editor A.G. Sulzberger said Trump’s recent attacks on his newspaper ‘crosses a dangerous line’
The president often attacks the media, but went further than usual on Saturday when he said the Times committed a ‘virtual act of Treason,’ which is a crime that could be punishable by death
Trump posted this to Twitter in response to the Times article that said the U.S. was increasing cyber attacks against Russia
The president tweeted Saturday that the Times, which he often classifies as ‘failing,’ committed a ‘virtual act of Treason’ by publishing an article about the U.S. escalating cyber attacks against Russia’ electrical grid.
‘Do you believe that the Failing New York Times just did a story stating that the United States is substantially increasing Cyber Attacks on Russia. This is a virtual act of Treason by a once great paper so desperate for a story, any story, even if bad for our Country. ALSO, NOT TRUE!’ Trump posted to Twitter.
‘Anything goes with our Corrupt News Media today. They will do, or say, whatever it takes, with not even the slightest thought of consequence!’ he continued. ‘These are true cowards and without doubt, THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!’
Sulzberger said officials at the National Security Council assured the reporters before they released the story that by publishing it they would not raise any national-security concerns. This didn’t stop Trump from claiming the paper was disloyal to the U.S.
The New York Times Communications Twitter account responded to Trump’s tweet explaining this and condemning the president’s accusations.
‘Accusing the press of treason is dangerous,’ it wrote. ‘We described the article to the government before publication. As our story notes, President Trump’s own national security officials said there were no concerns.’
Trump often calls mainstream media outlets ‘fake news’ and the ‘enemy of the people,’ and classifies the Times as ‘failing’ and the CNN as having ‘low ratings’
Sulzberger said the accusations were dangerous and also untrue, adding that the reporters spoke with Trump officials who said the story would not compromise national security interests
The Times Communications Twitter posted an excerpt from the article the describes the steps the reporters took in speaking with officials at the National Security Council who said none of the details in the report raised concerns
It also included a picture of an excerpt from the article that describes the steps taken to ensure it was not compromising any U.S. security interests.
‘Both General Nakasone and Mr. Bolton, through spokesmen, declined to answer questions about the incursions into Russia’s grid,’ the Times article, published on Saturday, read.
‘Officials at the National Security Council also declined to comment but said they had no national security concerns about the details of The New York Times’s reporting about the targeting of the Russian grid, perhaps an indication that some of the intrusions were intended to be noticed by the Russians,’ the article continued.
Trump is notorious for levying attacks against the media, calling mainstream outlets like the Times, The Washington Post and CNN ‘fake news’ and the ‘enemy of the people.’ But this accusation against a media outlet could be punishable by death.
Although treason is almost never prosecuted, Trump has used the word several times.
At a campaign launch rally Tuesday night, Trump issued his usual attacks on the press, mostly calling them ‘fake news.’ At several points the crowd chanted, ‘CNN sucks’
During his 2020 campaign launch rally on Tuesday night in Orlando, Florida, he made his usual attacks on the press.
‘The fact is, the American Dream is back, it’s bigger and better, and stronger than ever before. 2016 was not merely another four-year election. This was a defining moment in American history. Ask them right there,’ he said, pointing to the back of the arena were media was position. ‘By the way, that is a lot of fake news back there, that’s a lot.’
On more than one occasion during the rally, the crowd of more than 20,000 Trump supporters chanted, ‘CNN sucks.’ CNN is one of Trump’s favorite outlets to attack.
Sulzberger questioned what attacks the president would bring out next on the media, noting that ‘there is no more serious charge a commander in chief can make against an independent news organization’ than treason.