The publisher of the paper, A.G Suzlberger, has released a statement on a meeting he had with Trump. The newspaper warned the President his inflammatory language will lead to violence against journalists.

By Daniel Herborn

Posted on July 30, 2018

The meeting was off the record but Sulzberger released a statement after Trump tweeted about the contents of the discussion, putting it on the record.

“When the media – driven insane by their Trump Derangement Syndrome – reveals internal deliberations of our government, it truly puts the lives of many, not just journalists, at risk! Very unpatriotic!” Trump tweeted.

He then singled out The New York Times and The Washington Post, a favourite target of his, for further criticism, saying they report even his highest achievements in negative terms.

In an earlier tweet, Trump has described the meeting with Sulzberger as “very good”.

“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!” Trump wrote.

Sulzberger’s account of his meeting with Trump

“My main purpose for accepting the meeting was to raise concerns about the president’s deeply troubling anti-press rhetoric,” Sulzberger wrote in the statement.

The newspaper has often met with public figures who are concerned about how they are being covered.

“I told the president directly that I thought that his language was not just divisive but increasingly dangerous.”

Sulzberger also says he told the President the “fake news” label was untrue and hurtful, but he was more concerned with the President describing the media as the “enemy of the people” and felt such inflammatory language was leading to a rise in threats against journalists.

Sulzberger was accompanied by James Bennet, who oversees the paper’s editorial page. Suzlberger wrote that he did not ask Trump to stop criticising the paper or other media outlets, but to “reconisder his broader attacks on journalism, which I believe are dangerous and harmful to our country.”

The publisher also emphasised the danger to journalists abroad and argued that the president’s rhetoric has been instrumental in crackdowns on journalists. “I warned that (Trump’s rhetoric) was putting lives at risk, that it was undermining the democratic ideals of our nation, and that it was eroding one of our country’s greatest exports: a commitment to free speech and a free press.”

The US media has increasingly needed armed guards after threats of violence

Trump still reads The New York Times and talks to its reporters but has repeatedly referred to it as the “failing New York Times“. Revenue at the newspaper was actually up 3.8% over the first quarter last year.

Sulzberger reportedly told Trump that the newspaper had needed to station armed guards outside its offices due to the increased threats against journalists. Trump said he was surprised they did not already have armed guards.

Just last week, Trump told the crowd at the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Kansas City, Missouri: “Don’t believe the crap you see from these people, the fake news,” as he gestured at the assembled journalists.

“What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening”.

Only two days before newspaper offices in Maryland were the site of a mass shooting, alt-right commentator Milo Yiannopoulos said: “I can’t wait for the vigilante squads to start gunning journalists down on sight.”

Last week, the White House banned reporter Kaitlan Collins from an event where Trump and Jean-Claude Juncker announced an agreement for asking inappropriate questions. Even traditional Trump allies Fox News condemned the decision to ban Collins as “wrong-headed and weak”.