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NYT releases statement detailing meeting with Trump after he tweets about it

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Evan
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  • The New York Times put out a statement Sunday revealing
    the details of a previously off-the-record meeting the paper’s
    publisher had with President Donald Trump.
  • The paper said in its statement that it was choosing to
    divulge those details after Trump tweeted about the meeting
    Sunday morning, thereby putting it on the record.
  • Trump said that he had a “good and interesting” meeting
    with Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger, adding that they spent
    time “talking about the vast amounts” of fake news “being put
    out by the media,” and how that “Fake News has morphed into
    phrase, ‘Enemy of the People.'”
  • In a statement issued Sunday, Sulzberger said the White
    House requested the meeting and that he accepted the invitation
    to warn the president about the danger of his “deeply troubling
    anti-press rhetoric.”

The New York Times put out a statement Sunday that seemed
to counter President Donald Trump’s claim earlier in the day
about a meeting with A.G. Sulzberger, the paper’s
publisher.

“Had a very good and interesting meeting at the White House
with A.G. Sulzberger, Publisher of the New York Times,” the
president tweeted on Sunday morning.
“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 term “fake news” did not morph into “enemy of the
people.” Trump himself used the phrase to describe the media last
year, shortly after he took office, to express his displeasure
with its coverage of him.

The Times released a statement after
Trump tweeted about the meeting on Sunday, saying the White House
had requested the meeting, which took place on July 20, and asked
that it be off the record.

But the paper said Trump’s tweet Sunday morning put the
meeting on the record, prompting Sulzberger to speak out about
its content, based on “detailed notes” he and James Bennet, who
oversees The Times’ editorial page, took.

Sulzberger said the main reason he accepted Trump’s
invitation to meet was to “raise concerns about the president’s
deeply troubling anti-press rhetoric,” which he characterized as
“divisive” and “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’s statement
said. “I warned that this inflammatory language is contributing
to a rise in threats against journalists and will lead to
violence.”

Sulzberger also said that he emphasized during the meeting that
he was not asking the president to soften his attacks on The
Times if he felt the paper’s coverage was unfair.

“Instead, I implored him to reconsider his broader attacks on
journalism, which I believe are dangerous and harmful to our
country,” the statement concluded.

The Times is a frequent target for Trump, who often dubs the
paper, “The Failing New York Times.”

He indicated as much in a separate tweetstorm he blasted
out after The Times released Sulzberger’s statement, and he also
spun Sulzberger’s words to suggest that it was media outlets that
were putting lives at risk.

“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!” the
president tweeted. “Very unpatriotic! Freedom of the press also
comes with a responsibility to report the news …
accurately.”

He added: “90% of media coverage of my Administration is
negative, despite the tremendously positive results we are
achieving, it’s no surprise that confidence in the media is at an
all time low! I will not allow our great country to be sold out
by anti-Trump haters in the … dying newspaper industry.”

“No matter how much they try to distract and cover it up,
our country is making great progress under my leadership and I
will never stop fighting for the American people!” he continued.
“As an example, the failing New York Times … and the Amazon
Washington Post do nothing but write bad stories even on very
positive achievements – and they will never change!”

Earlier in the week, the White House drew sharp scrutiny
when it banned CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins from a Rose Garden
press event after she asked Trump tough questions about Michael
Cohen and his summit in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir
Putin.

Trump and his allies frequently insult reporters, like
CNN’s Jim Acosta, and the daily press briefings often feature
contentious back-and-forths between reporters and White House
press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who has also been known
to take individual jabs at journalists.

As Sulzberger noted, it’s not uncommon for the White House
and the press to have a tense relationship. But observers have
pointed out that the relationship between the Trump White House
and the media appears to be at a particularly low point, due in
large part to Trump’s tendency to deem any coverage he doesn’t
like as “fake” and “dishonest.”

Sulzberger took over as publisher from his father Arthur
Ochs Sulzberger Jr. in January, more than a year after Trump
met with Times editors and
reporters for a wide-ranging interview after his 2016 election
victory.

Though Trump has taken to calling it the “failing New York
Times,” The Times has reported consistently rising subscriptions
and readership since Trump took office.

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