In a series of tweets on Sunday, Donald Trump attacked the New York Times and the notion of press freedom after the newspaper published a critical look inside his campaign.
"It is not 'freedom of the press' when newspapers and others are allowed to say and write whatever they want even if it is completely false," Trump said in one of seven tweets today attacking the Times.
Trump, however, took a much different view of the media's role in covering presidential candidates back in 1987, when he told ABC News' Nightline that he believed the press should do "very strong investigative reporting" on those running for the nation's highest office.
“I think that you really want that man covered from morning 'til noon, 'til night, and I personally like to see very strong investigative reporting of anybody that’s going to be the president, especially the president of the country," Trump said.
Trump's made the comments while Gary Hart's presidential campaign was imploding over an affair. Video of his appearance is available through Vanderbilt University's Television archive.
An unflattering picture of Trump's campaign was reported in the Times on Saturday, looking at attempts to turn around Trump's campaign by his advisers. The article, which described Trump's mood as "sullen and erratic," reported that Trump's advisers wondered if he was "beyond coaching."
Before his run for president, Trump on several occasions paid lip service to press freedom.
In December 2013, Trump tweeted George Washington's famous quote on press freedom. "If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter," Trump tweeted Washington saying.
In November 2014, Trump keynoted the Nackey S. Loeb First Amendment Award banquet where he said he understood press freedom better than anyone. “I think nobody really understands freedom of the press a lot better than I do because of the fact that I believe in speaking my mind,” Trump said.
Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Andrew Kaczynski at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Christopher Massie is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Christopher Massie at Christopher.Massie@buzzfeed.com.
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