Donald Trump has turned out to be a weird kind of guardian angel for The New York Times, even though he constantly berates the Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper as “failing” and for peddling “fake news.” But each time the president attacks more readers than ever buy subscriptions, executive editor Dean Baquet revealed.
“Trump is the best thing to happen to the Times’ subscription strategy,” Baquet grinned on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” Sunday. “Every time he tweets it drives subscriptions wildly.”
Reporter Brian Stelter noted that Trump has referred to the Times as “failing” 53 times in a drumbeat of tweets. It’s simply not true, said Baquet. “Our digital subscriptions are going through the roof. Even print subscriptions are up. We’re a profitable company. We’re a big, vibrant, important newsroom.”
He characterized the constant attacks by Trump as a strategy to suppress any criticism of him and his administration in both the media and other institutions, including the judiciary, charged with “holding him accountable.” Added Baquet: “I think it’s troublesome, I think it’s dangerous.”
But Trump’s onslaught has helped make the newspaper’s mission “clearer than ever,” he said.
“I think what’s happened in the last couple months, I have to say, has been tremendous for news organizations,” Baquet said. “We’re covering a dramatic revolution in government and how the country is governed.”
Trump zinged the Times again Sunday, so subscriptions must be up even more. He responded to an ad the Times ran during the Academy Awards about seeking the truth. The ad concluded: “The truth is hard to find. The truth is hard to know. The truth is more important now than ever.”
Trump scoffed at the Times for taking out an ad “for the first time.” That wasn’t the truth. It may have been the newspaper’s first ad during the Oscars, but the Times has run commercials in the past. The president also suggested — yet again — that the newspaper “try reporting accurately.”
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