The New York Times is pushing back — hard — against statements made by President Trump in an interview with Time Magazine, claiming that the paper’s coverage supports his repeatedly-disputed claim that he was under surveillance ordered personally by former President Barack Obama.
Stating outright that “Trump Misleads,” The Times’ rebuttal Thursday didn’t call the president a liar, as it has several times in recent months. But nonetheless the Gray Lady offered a scathing, point-by-point fact-check of Trump’s assertions about the paper’s reporting.
Trump told Time Magazine that a The Times article published Jan. 20 backed up his claim that Obama had ordered the wiretapping of his phones. He also accused The Times of changing the article’s headline after publication, and implied that it did so in order to undermine him.
“Here, headline, for the front page of The New York Times, ‘Wiretapped data used in inquiry of Trump aides.’ That’s a headline. Now they then dropped that headline, I never saw this until this morning. They then dropped that headline, and they used another headline without the word wiretap, but they did mean wiretap. Wiretapped data used in inquiry. Then changed after that, they probably didn’t like it. And they changed the title. They took the wiretap word out.”
Not so, says The Times. First, it said, the web version of the article always had a different headline than the print version. And second, The Times said it had never changed the headlines after publication, providing a cached version from website The Wayback Machine, as well as an article by the conservative National Review, as proof. Finally, The Times noted that a note at the end of the article from the date of publication disclosed the difference in headlines.
The Times didn’t stop there, rebutting two other claims made by the president.
* Regarding Trump’s statement that the article backed up his claims: “Neither the print nor online version of the article supports Mr. Trump’s accusation that Mr. Obama ordered surveillance on him.
* Regarding Trump’s statement that he had used the term “wiretapping” as a broad synonym for surveillance: “This is misleading. Mr. Trump did put the word in quotes in two of his tweets, but explicitly accused Mr. Obama of wiretapping his phones.”
* The times also noted Trump’s follow-up tweet to his original claim, which contained the typo “tapp” instead of “tap.”
As of this writing, President Trump has not responded to The Times’ article via Twitter or any other forum.