New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger on Wednesday unleashed a blistering response to President Donald Trump’s declaration that his newspaper is the “enemy of the people.”
Hours after the president accused the Times of fabricating its reporting and not bothering to reach out to the White House for comment — a claim that Times report Maggie Haberman shot down as “a lie” — Sulzberger compared the president to foreign tyrants who don’t just complain about negative coverage, but try to portray the role of the free press as illegitimate.
“But in demonizing the free press as the enemy, simply for performing its role of asking difficult questions and bringing uncomfortable information to light, President Trump is retreating from a distinctly American principle,” he said. “It’s a principle that previous occupants of the Oval Office fiercely defended regardless of their politics, party affiliation, or complaints about how they were covered.”
Sulzberger then went on to discuss the historical implications of calling journalists “enemies of the people,” which Trump has continued to say even after some of his supporters have physically attacked journalists.
“The phrase ‘enemy of the people’ is not just false, it’s dangerous,” he said. “It has an ugly history of being wielded by dictators and tyrants who sought to control public information. And it is particularly reckless coming from someone whose office gives him broad powers to fight or imprison the nation’s enemies.”