Key Words: Trump’s accusation of treason crosses ‘a dangerous line,’ N.Y. Times publisher says

While many have grown numb to President Donald Trump’s frequent attacks on the press, his recent comments cross “a dangerous line,” the publisher of the New York Times says.

In an op-ed published late Wednesday by the Wall Street Journal, Arthur G. Sulzberger said Trump has “gone from misrepresenting our business, to assaulting our integrity, to demonizing our journalists,” and the next step could be a dangerous one.

“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?”

A.G. Sulzberger

On Sunday, Trump tweeted that a Times report that weekend about escalating U.S. cyber efforts to hack into Russia’s power grid was a “virtual act of treason,” and denounced the reporters as “true cowards.”

The word “treason,” Sulzberger wrote, is a loaded one, “a crime so grave it is punishable by death.”

That was irresponsible and wrong, he wrote. “There is no more serious charge a commander in chief can make against an independent news organization.”

Sulzberger noted that the Times reached out to military and intelligence officials before publishing the story, and were told there were no national security concerns. The story speculated that was “perhaps an indication that some of the intrusions were intended to be noticed by the Russians.”

“There is nothing we take more seriously than doing this work fairly and accurately, even when we are under attack,” Sulzberger wrote. “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.”

New York Times Co. NYT, +0.21%   stock is up 51% year to date, compared to the S&P 500’s SPX, +0.30%   17% gain.

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