The White House Allegedly Knew A Journalist Was In Danger Overseas — And Did Nothing To Help Him
The publisher of one of the most read newspapers in the country alleged that the Trump administration stood back and did nothing to help an American journalist who was in imminent danger, even though they were aware of the situation and could have acted to save him.
In a New York Times opinion piece published on Monday, A.G. Sulzberger, the publisher of that newspaper, noted that the world has changed significantly in the past few years, and that it was particularly disturbing how several governments, once defenders of a free press, were now taking part in a “relentless campaign…[t]o stop journalists from exposing uncomfortable truths and holding power to account.”
Sulzberger recalled in his critique a situation two years ago that involved one of the Times’ reporters, Declan Walsh, an Irish-born journalist for the Times who was embedded in Egypt reporting on the government’s activities there.
A member of the Trump administration, unnamed in Sulzberger’s opinion piece, allegedly called the paper to tell them about intel they had received. Walsh, it appeared, was going to be detained by the Egyptian government due to his reporting.
The official, however, couldn’t offer any help to the paper or to Walsh directly. The administration was set to do nothing about it, they explained.
“We learned the official was passing along this warning without the knowledge or permission of the Trump administration,” Sulzberger wrote. “Rather than trying to stop the Egyptian government or assist the reporter, the official believed, the Trump administration intended to sit on the information and let the arrest be carried out. The official feared being punished for even alerting us to the danger.”
Wow — NYT publisher says the Trump administration was prepared to sit back and allow one of its journalists to be arrested in Egypt. So the paper turned to the reporter's native Ireland for help, and it was those diplomats who got him out — not the US.https://t.co/dWv4Bfuo5B pic.twitter.com/RGQ5uHWbRT
— Tom Namako (@TomNamako) September 24, 2019
Since the U.S. was not going to help, Sulzberger explained, they contacted the journalists country of birth, Ireland. Officials from that country acted swiftly, escorting to the airport “before Egyptian forces could detain him,” the publisher wrote.
Sulzberger’s missive went on to blast the president for his refusal to recognize journalism’s importance in society.
“Journalism is a human enterprise, and we sometimes make mistakes…But when the president decries ‘fake news,’ he’s not interested in actual mistakes. He’s trying to delegitimize real news, dismissing factual and fair reporting as politically motivated fabrications,” Sulzberger wrote.
Trump has become comfortable with many of the world’s dictators, including Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Trump has even called him his “favorite dictator,” Vice reported.
This week, as protests erupted in Egypt, Trump had glowing praise for the strongman leader, and tried to justify his liking him.
“Egypt has a great leader; he’s highly respected. He’s brought order, Before he was here there was very little order — there was chaos,” Trump explained.
Trump has also made many attacks against the media. In addition to calling news reports he finds disfavorable “fake news” (even when they appear to be based on discernible facts), the president has also described the media he doesn’t like as the “enemy of the people.”