We could write a book about what’s wrong with the New York Times these days, from its sensationalistic and largely fictional coverage of Hillary Clinton’s emails during the election, to its recurring puff pieces about Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner that are obviously a tradeoff for inside information. But in the ongoing battle between the New York Times and Donald Trump, we’ll take the Times by a mile. That’s why it’s unfortunate that the Times had to learn about Trump the hard way this weekend.
On Sunday morning, Donald Trump posted this tweet: “Had a very good and interesting meeting at the 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 trouble: that’s not at all what happened.
In response to Trump’s tweet, the New York Times released a lengthy statement from Sulzberger. He revealed that while he did accept an invitation to meet with Trump, it was supposed to have been off the record, and that he only accepted the invite so that he could tell Trump “that I thought that his language was not just divisive but increasingly dangerous,” adding that “I warned that this inflammatory language is contributing to a rise in threats against journalists and will lead to violence.”
The problem here is that the New York Times thought it could hold an off-the-record meeting with Donald Trump in order to get its message across to him, and that he would actually abide by the spirit of their meeting. Instead Trump promptly blabbed to the whole world that the meeting took place, and then he dishonestly characterized what was discussed. For all its flaws, we’re rooting for the New York Times to get to the bottom of Trump’s criminal scandals. So it’s unfortunate that even after all this time, the Times had to learn that hard way that Trump is scheming sociopath who can always be counted on to do the dishonest thing.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report