The Slatest

Former NYT Editor Pushes Back on Trump Praise of Her Book as He Attacks Media

Jill Abramson speaks at 2014 Pennsylvania Conference For Women at Philadelphia Convention Center on October 16, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Jill Abramson speaks at 2014 Pennsylvania Conference For Women at Philadelphia Convention Center on October 16, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Lisa Lake/Getty Images

President Donald Trump praised former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson on Saturday, and used the upcoming release of her book to take aim at one of his favorite targets. The president said that Abramson “rips paper’s ‘unmistakably anti-Trump’ bias’.” It will come as no surprise the president didn’t seem to have actually read the book and just copy-and-pasted a recent headline in the Washington Times. The conservative paper was reporting on the book, Merchants of Truth: The Business of News and the Fight for Facts according to a Fox News piece.

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Trump used that headline as an opportunity to bash the New York Times, saying she was “100% correct” in her assessment. “Horrible and totally dishonest reporting on almost everything they write,” Trump wrote. “Hence the term Fake News, Enemy of the People, and Opposition Party!”

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This was not the commander in chief’s first attack on the media for the day and came shortly after he lashed out at CNN for its report that hundreds of Transportation Security Administration agents are calling out sick during the partial government shutdown. Trump praised the spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security for criticizing the report. “Great Tweet today by Tyler Q. Houlton @SpoxDHS on the #FakeNews being put out by @CNN, a proud member of the Opposition Party,” Trump wrote. “@TSA is doing a great job!” Houlton, who tweeted Friday and not Saturday as the president claimed, had called the report “fake news” even though TSA essentially confirmed it later.

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Abramson quickly pushed back against the president’s characterization of her book: “Anyone who reads my book, Merchants of Truth, will find I revere @nytimes and praise its tough coverage of you.” In an email to the Guardian, where she is a columnist, Abramson expanded on that tweet. “Donald Trump is echoing a piece on Fox News (surprise) that distorts and takes what I wrote totally out of context,” she wrote. “Both the NYT and [Washington Post] have had superb coverage of the corruption enveloping the Trump administration, the best investigative reporting I’ve seen. My book is full of praise for both papers.” Abramson was fired from the New York Times in 2014.

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Abramson had earlier complained that Fox News’ Howard Kurtz had taken her book out of context to serve the network’s narrative. “His article is an attempt to Foxify my book, which is full of praise for The Times and The Washington Post and their coverage of Trump,” Abramson wrote in an email, according to the Associated Press

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