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 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.