The Times Talks Back to Donald Trump
“Our job is to cover the hell out of Donald Trump, not be his opponent,” New York Times editor Dean Baquet said two months after the president’s inauguration in 2017. Few could disagree.

But the rules of engagement in these strange times have thrust great institutions such as the Times into unaccustomed roles. The president's ceaseless attacks on the media, and against the Times in particular, have made the paper of record part of the story of the Trump era. 
Far from a reluctant player, however, the Times now regularly issues strikingly defiant public statements pushing back when Trump attacks its journalists. Some of the paper’s most interesting writing isn't authored by its reporters or columnists, and doesn't even appear in the Times . It’s found on the Twitter feed of the paper's communications department.
On Sunday, the paper pushed back when Trump attacked its coverage of the immigration deal he said he had struck with Mexico. At another time in history, the paper might have released a dry, imperious statement. But the Times hasn’t been imperious for a while now, and it is regularly responding to Trump’s attacks with disdain.
It's usually not a fair fight when the paper and Trump go at it. He is almost always wrong, or lying. Here are some of our favorites: 

Trump : “Remember when the failing @nytimes apologized to its subscribers, right after the election, because their coverage was so wrong. Now worse!”

Times: “False, we did not apologize. We stand by our coverage & thank our millions of subscribers for supporting our journalism.”

Actually: Sulzberger and Baquet suggested after the 2016 race that the paper might have underestimated Trump’s support. But they never apologized.

Trump: “Another false story, this time in the Failing @nytimes, that I watch 4-8 hours of television a day - Wrong!”

NY Times: “ We stand by our reporting, sourced from interviews with 60 advisers, associates, friends, and members of Congress.”
Actually: Trump’s television habits have been well-documented.

Trump: “The Failing New York Times purposely wrote a false story stating that I am unhappy with my legal team on the Russia case and am going to add another lawyer to help out. Wrong. I am VERY happy with my lawyers.”

NY Times: We stand by our reporting, which was confirmed by multiple people close to the President.”

Actually : Trump brought on Rudy Giuliani and two other lawyers a month later.

  Trump: The New York Times and a third rate reporter named Maggie Habberman (sic), known as a Crooked H flunkie who I don’t speak to and have nothing to do with, are going out of their way to destroy Michael Cohen and his relationship with me in the hope that he will ‘flip.’”

NY Times: “We are extremely proud of @maggieNYT, who is part of a team that just won a Pulitzer Prize. We stand by our story and our reporting. (Also, it’s Haberman with one b).”

Actually: Eight months later, Trump blasted Cohen as a “rat” for telling a court that his old boss instructed him to break campaign finance laws.
Trump: Says he and Sulzberger “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!”

Sulzberger: " 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.'"

Actually: Does anyone really believe Sulzberger would criticize the media for reporting Fake News?

Trump : “The Failing New York Times wrote a story that made it seem like the White House Councel (sic) had TURNED on the President, when in fact it is just the opposite. This is why the Fake News Media has become the Enemy of the People.”

NY Times : “ The New York Times stands behind the reporting of our Pulitzer-Prize winning reporters @nytmike and @maggieNYT."
Actually: Later that month, Don McGahn resigned as White House Counsel. Trump would later tweet: “Don McGahn had a much better chance of being fired than Mueller. Never a big fan!”
Trump: “Paul Krugman, of the Fake New York Times , has lost all credibility. He said Market would crash, Only Record Highs!”

NY Times: “@PaulKrugman won the 2008 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. He is a valued member of our team of Opinion columnists.”

Actually: Krugman never predicted a market crash. Shortly after Trump’s election he worried that the markets might never recover from voters “putting an irresponsible, ignorant man who takes his advice from all the wrong people in charge of the nation.”  

 Other institutions may cower from Trump. The New York Times , thank goodness, is not one of them.
Who Knew Gays Were So Boring?
World Pride Day is almost upon us, which means that in two weeks, six million LGBTQ tourists from around the world will descend upon our city. Stores are already decked out in rainbow colors; parades and counter-parades are in their final planning stages; a raft of mammoth events, including one at the Javits Center for 8,000 revelers, have sold out.

It will be an exciting time to be gay in this city. And yet, why are we feeling so despondent?

It all started last Sunday, when we read this story in the Times :

Trading the Noisy Gay Bar Scene for the Knitting Circle

“Fed up with awkward small talk and impersonal interactions at bars, some gay men in New York are looking for alternative ways to connect,” wrote author Britta Lokting.

Lokting, who apparently never spent a Saturday night in Fire Island, interviewed a young man named Louis Boria, who sat in the back of a Park Slope yarn store with his friends, bemoaning the bar scene while “knitting the beginnings of a yoke sweater.”

His companions, “drinking rosé from disposable cups,” had also found meaning far from Gotham’s rougher edges “Clearly we’re not the clubby types,” said his friend, while “diligently stitching a teal short-sleeved sweater fringed by lace, a birthday present for his sister.”

We suppose that it isn't the worst thing in the world that gaydom has become as edgy as a Matcha Green Tea Latte. But don't hold a spot for us at the yarn store just yet.

Here and There

Michael Sebastian replaces Jay Fieldan as editor-in-chief of Esquire Jesse Angelo , formerly New York Post CEO, becomes vice president of global news and entertainment at Vice Media… Dan Harris leaves anchor positions at “Nightline” and “Good Morning America”… Erin Durkin joins Politico New York to work on Playbook… Sam Raskin joins BKLYNER as reporter on politics and central Brooklyn … Andrew Sokoloff Diaz takes on a new role in communications and public affairs at the New York City Department of Environmental Protection.
“I am from a new time. New politics, new realities.” – Mayor Bill de Blasio, discussing his presidential run in New York magazine.
Have a career announcement for Here and There? A Quotable quote?
Kirtzman Strategies is a strategic communications and public affairs firm that works with public officials, nonprofits, companies, tech startups and education organizations.
Kirtzman Strategies | |