A NY Times Article Highlighted Trump’s Campaign Struggles, So He Responded By Threatening The Free Press
Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump threatened to revoke The New York Times’ press credentials after the Times suggested “his approach seems to be sputtering” and that the campaign's "effort to save Mr. Trump from himself has plainly failed.” Trump’s threat, which came after the candidate said the Times “is going to hell,” is only the latest of Trump’s now-routine attacks on the media.
An August 13 rally in Fairfield, CT, -- during which Trump also leveled disparaging remarks at CNN -- was described by ABC’s John Santucci as a “bash the media event for Trump.” Trump’s tirade against the media was reportedly triggered by a New York Times piece that highlighted the Trump campaign’s “failing mission to tame Donald Trump’s tongue.” In the August 13 article, the Times reported on efforts by Trump’s advisers to make him “stick to a teleprompter and end his freestyle digressions and insults, like his repeated attacks on a Hispanic federal judge.” According to the Times, “nearly two months later, the effort … plainly failed,” and his advisers reportedly secured his agreement to “get on track” again, just hours before his “explosive comment about ‘Second Amendment people’ taking action” if he loses:
Joined by his daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, a cluster of Mr. Trump’s confidants pleaded with him to make that day — June 20 — a turning point.
He would have to stick to a teleprompter and end his freestyle digressions and insults, like his repeated attacks on a Hispanic federal judge.
Mr. Trump bowed to his team’s entreaties, according to four people with detailed knowledge of the meeting, who described it on the condition of anonymity. It was time, he agreed, to get on track.
Nearly two months later, the effort to save Mr. Trump from himself has plainly failed. He has repeatedly signaled to his advisers and allies his willingness to change and adapt, but has grown only more volatile and prone to provocation since then, clashing with a Gold Star family, making comments that have been seen as inciting violence and linking his political opponents to terrorism.
Mr. Trump’s advisers believe he is nearly out of time to right his campaign. On Tuesday, hours before his explosive comment about “Second Amendment people” taking action if Mrs. Clinton is elected, his brain trust reassembled again at Trump Tower in a reprise of their stern meeting in June.
Mr. Trump, people briefed on the meeting said, digested the advice and responded receptively.
It was time, he agreed, to get on track.
Trump continued his anti-media tirade at the CT rally with a series of tweets on August 14, doubling down on his attacks against the Times, denying that he told advisers that he would change, and claiming the “disgusting and corrupt media” doesn’t cover him honestly. He also justified his threats against a free press by claiming, “It is not ‘freedom of the press’ when newspapers and others are allowed to say and write whatever they want even if it is completely false”:
If Trump goes through with revoking the Times’ credentials, the paper would join The Washington Post and many other outlets he has blacklisted from covering his events. Trump’s “war against the First Amendment” includes plans to “open up our libel laws” and threats of using governmental power to retaliate against media outlets -- something that the Post’s executive editor Marty Baron said in May reminded him of “Hugo Chavez in Venezuela.”
Trump’s rhetoric against the media and his practice of singling out journalists by by name to attack them personally and publicly has already had dangerous consequences: MSNBC’s Katy Tur had to be escorted to her car by the Secret Service after Trump supporters verbally harassed her at a rally in December. Many other journalists assigned to cover the Trump campaign say they’ve been targeted and verbally attacked during the nominee’s rallies where his supporters have followed Trump’s lead, telling them they “hate” them and called them “liars” and "traitor[s]."