NY Times publisher complains that Trump’s ‘treason’ accusation ‘crosses a dangerous line’

A.G. Sulzberger, the publisher of The New York Times, has accused President Donald Trump of crossing a “dangerous line” in his recent criticism of the controversial news outlet.

Sulzberger took offense to the president recently suggesting that the Times committed a “virtual act of treason” by publishing a story claiming the United States was “substantially increasing” cyber attacks on Russia. Trump called the story “fake news” and said those behind it are “true cowards.”

(Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

“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. 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,” the president tweeted.

He continued, “ALSO, NOT TRUE! Anything goes with our Corrupt News Media today. They will do, or say, whatever it takes, with not even the slightest thought of consequence! These are true cowards and without doubt, THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!”

Sulzberger shot back at Trump in an oped for the Wall Street Journal by saying there was “no more serious charge” a commander in chief could make against a news organization than “treason.”

“There is no more serious charge a commander in chief can make against an independent news organization. Which presents a troubling question: What would it look like for Mr. Trump to escalate his attacks on the press further? Having already reached for the most incendiary language available, what is left but putting his threats into action?” Sulzberger said.

Sulzberger previously said Trump’s rhetoric regarding the media should concern all Americans.

“Mr. Trump’s campaign against journalists should concern every patriotic American. A free, fair and independent press is essential to our country’s strength and vitality and to every freedom that makes it great,” Sulzberger said.

Trump said this week that the Times should “immediately release” their sources from the cyber attack story.

“The story in the @nytimes about the U.S. escalating attacks on Russia’s power grid is Fake News, and the Failing New York Times knows it. They should immediately release their sources which, if they exist at all, which I doubt, are phony. Times must be held fully accountable!” Trump tweeted.

New York Times CEO Mark Thompson also condemned Trump’s New York Times comments on Wednesday.

“The president is entirely entitled to not like everything he reads in The New York Times, I get that,” Thompson said CNBC’s Evolve forum in New York City.

He continued, “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.”

The New York Times’ press office also responded to Trump on Twitter by saying, “Accusing the press of treason is dangerous. We described the article to the government before publication. As our story notes, President Trump’s own national security officials said there were no concerns.”

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