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New York Times CEO Mark Thompson calls Trump's attacks on the press 'stupid' and 'dangerous'

Key Points
  • The CEO of The New York Times has harsh words for President Donald Trump during an interview at the CNBC Evolve forum in New York City on Wednesday.
  • "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," says Mark Thompson, who became president and CEO of The New York Times Company in 2012.
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NY Times CEO: Trump's attack on journalists is dangerous and stupid

New York Times CEO Mark Thompson on Wednesday called President Donald Trump's attacks on journalists "hostile," "stupid" and "dangerous."

Thompson's comments at the CNBC Evolve forum Wednesday in New York came the day after Trump launched his 2020 reelection campaign at a raucous Orlando, Florida, rally in which he targeted the news media.

"The president is entirely entitled to not like everything he reads in The New York Times, I get that," said Thompson, who became president and CEO of The New York Times Company in 2012. "He has every right to say he doesn't like the way we cover him or cover anything else. So this is not saying we shouldn't be criticized."

"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 said.

Trump made attacks on the press a centerpiece of his 2016 campaign and has continued to criticize the media, as well as individual journalists, as president.

Those attacks have increased in frequency in recent weeks, with the president tweeting negatively about the media every day in June through Tuesday, marking the longest such stretch since he declared his candidacy for president, according to a tracker maintained by a consortium of news organizations and press freedom advocates.

On Wednesday, the president accused the "Fake News Media" of hurting him in the polls. A slew of recent surveys have shown the president trailing several top Democrats running to unseat him, including former vice president Joe Biden.

"If I didn't have the Phony Witch Hunt going on for 3 years, and if the Fake News Media and their partner in Crime, the Democrats, would have played it straight, I would be way up in the Polls right now - with our Economy, winning by 20 points. But I'm winning anyway!" Trump wrote in a post on Twitter.

The New York Times, the president's hometown newspaper, has borne the brunt of those rhetorical attacks, as has CNN and The Washington Post. Occasionally, those outlets have responded to the president's remarks.

On Saturday, for instance, Trump tweeted that a story by the Times about the United States escalating its digital attacks on the Russian power grid was a "virtual act of Treason by a once great paper so desperate for a story, any story, even if bad for our Country."

In response, the Times' communications department wrote in a post on Twitter: "Accusing the press of treason is dangerous."

"We described the article to the government before publication," the Times wrote. "As our story notes, President Trump's own national security officials said there were no concerns."

The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

Shares of The New York Times Company have risen more than 200% since Trump was elected, far outperforming the broader market.

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