0445 GMT February 22, 2020
The president lashed out in a series of Sunday-morning tweets, renewing his attack on The New York Times in an apparent continuation of his longstanding campaign to discredit news organizations which cover stories he does not approve of, The Independent reported.
In the posts, he complains about the newspaper shifting its focus from coverage of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into his campaign’s links with Russia to “a Racism Witch Hunt”.
“The reporting is so false, biased and evil that it has now become a very sick joke,” Trump said: “With all that this Administration has accomplished, think what my Poll Numbers would be if we had an honest Media, which we do not!”
The president’s disapproval rating climbed to 56 percent in Fox News polling published this week. That figure was just one point short of a record high and a five-point increase on last month.
In further ominous polling for the president, another Fox News survey found him to be less popular among voters than Democrat presidential candidates Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris.
Trump gave no examples of NYT stories which he deemed to be part of a “racism witch hunt”. But he appeared to be reacting to the newspaper’s executive editor, Dean Baquet, telling staff he wanted them to “write more deeply about the country, race, and other divisions” following the end of Mueller’s inquiry.
The president’s recent racist attacks on four Democratic congresswomen of color have been widely reported by media outlets around the world.
He repeatedly told Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib – all US citizens, and all but one born in the US – to “go back” to their own countries.
The New York Times faced criticism over its coverage of such remarks, which it labelled “lowest-rung slur[s] … widely regarded as beyond the pale” when many other publications had explicitly called out the president’s racism.
The newspaper sparked another backlash by headlining its coverage of massing shootings Dayton and El Paso: “Trump urges unity vs racism”.
After reader complaints that the headline failed to convey the president’s stoking of racial divisions, Baquet held a staff meeting in which employees reportedly asked him about the paper’s reluctance to call Trump “racist”.
While Baquet defended the paper’s coverage, according to a transcript obtained by Slate, he said: “I think that we’ve got to change.
“How do we cover a guy who makes these kinds of remarks? How do we cover the world’s reaction to him? ... How do we write about race in a thoughtful way, something we haven’t done in a large way in a long time?”