New York Times CEO Mark Thompson on Wednesday condemned President Trump for his frequent attacks on the news media, calling them “hostile, stupid but also dangerous.”
“The president is entirely entitled to not like everything he reads in The New York Times, I get that,” Thompson, who has served as the president and CEO of The New York Times Company since 2012, said at CNBC’s Evolve forum in New York.
He added that Trump “has every right” to say he doesn’t like the way the Times covers him or his administration.
“But actually isolating journalists, as a group, not just the Times, but the whole industry, is a really, frankly, hostile, stupid but also dangerous thing to do,” Thompson added.
Trump has repeatedly gone after the press since launching his campaign for the presidency, often referring to members of the news media as “fake news” and going so far as to label them the “enemy of the people.” The president has regularly taken aim at The New York Times and its reporters.
Trump accused the Times of committing a “virtual act of treason” last week after the newspaper reported about the U.S. increasing its cyberattacks on Russia’s electric power grid.
“Do you believe that the Failing New York Times just did a story stating that the United States is substantially increasing Cyber Attacks on Russia,” Trump tweeted. “This is a virtual act of Treason by a once great paper so desperate for a story, any story, even if bad for our Country.”
On Monday, he called for the newspaper to release its sources for the report, tweeting that it “must be held fully accountable.”
The newspaper on Saturday published a report about the United States’s efforts to penetrate Russia’s power grid. The Times, citing current and former government officials, noted that the actions are a warning to Moscow on how the Trump administration is using new authorities to unleash cyber tools in an aggressive manner.
The Times stood by its story following Trump’s attacks, stating that “accusing the press of treason is dangerous.”
The publication’s PR department also noted in a tweet that Trump’s own national security officials said there were no concerns about the report being published.
Trump officially launched his 2020 reelection campaign with a rally in Orlando on Tuesday. The president at one point called his first campaign announcement “a defining moment” in American history, before pointing to the press pen and saying, “ask them right there.” The remark prompted loud chants of “CNN sucks” from the crowd.