A.G. Sulzberger, publisher of The New York Times, said in a written statement that the reason he’s concerned about President Donald Trump’s rhetoric regarding the press is that foreign nations are using it to justify “sweeping crackdowns on journalists.”
Oh, please. Get a grip.
So we’re to believe that because Trump fights back against a vicious media filled with reporters who want nothing more than to see him fail — that other nations’ leaders are now using this White House fight to justify physical attacks against journalists?
As if, say, China doesn’t already crack down on members of the media. Or Mexico, and the journalist-killing drug lords? As if leaders of the world have taken a Jihadi John type approach to unfriendly members of the press, screaming “Viva La Trump!” instead of “Allahu Akbar?”
Sulzberger released the statement in response to Trump’s tweet about his July 20 sit-down at The New York Times.
“Had a very good and interesting meeting at the White House with A.G. Sulzberger, Publisher of the New York Times,” Trump tweeted Sunday. “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!”
Sulzberger confirmed the meeting, and said the fact Trump tweeted about it brought it from behind closed doors into the public eye. So in response, he sent out this statement:
“My main purpose for accepting the meeting was to raise concerns about the president’s deeply troubling anti-press rhetoric,” Sulzberger said. “I told the president directly that I thought that his language was not just divisive but increasingly dangerous. I told him that although the phrase ‘fake news’ is untrue and harmful, I am far more concerned about his labeling journalists ‘the enemy of the people.’ ”
Sulzberger then said Trump’s label was “inflammatory,” and was “contributing to a rise in threats against journalists.”
“[Trump’s language] will lead to violence,” Sulzberger went on. “I repeatedly stressed that this is particularly true abroad, where the president’s rhetoric is being used by some regimes to justify sweeping crackdowns on journalists. I warned that it 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.”
Again, examples? Some corroborating facts, perhaps?
Sorry, Sulzberger. It’s a hard sell to say that governments of other nations are rubbing their hands in glee while thinking, “Hmm, Trump called the media an enemy of the people. Now I’m gonna jail me some journalists.”
It’s a particularly hard sell when there are no concrete examples to back the notion.
Here’s what’s really going on: Trump’s doing something no president has before done — he’s winning in his call-out of the press for deceptive, skewed coverage.
So now the media has to try a different tactic to get Trump to tone down — to get him to take his lumps like a good little president — and thus, we get Sulzberger crying about the dangers of tough talk.
It’s every liberal’s favorite weapon — pull out the safety card. But blaming Trump for violence against journalists in other countries seems a bit much, even for the left.
• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter, @ckchumley.
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