President Trump has made no secret of his disdain for the news media, which he famously derided as the “enemy of the American people.”
But that hasn’t prevented the press from giving readers an inside view of what’s happening within the Trump White House, with a daily avalanche of scoops and breaking news about the administration.
Dean Baquet, executive editor of The New York Times (one of the news outlets that Trump singled out for his fury) says that’s no accident.
Speaking at the Code conference in Los Angeles on Tuesday night, Baquet said the Trump administration has activated a twin engine of leaks: people in the established Washington and people inside the White House itself.
“This administration is doing stuff that has upset the permanent Washington,” he explained, referring to the people who work in various government agencies. As those people get upset about what the administration is doing, or not doing, they talk.
But it’s not just that.
A house divided
“It’s a White House of disarray. There are two or three factions fighting for an ear of a President who probably didn’t have fully formed views before he took office,” he says.
It’s true that there’s a Bannon “faction” and a Jared Kushner “faction,” he said. “We’re watching a Washington story unlike any other. I think we’re seeing a drama, a fight in the White House and a government investigation that’s unprecedented.”
To cover this White House, the New York Times doubled the number of people covering it to 6 people.
They also have no qualms about covering President Trump’s Twitter feed as news.
“We have to cover it. He’s president of the US, even if it’s late night thoughts or early morning thoughts, they are his thoughts,” he said.
However, he added, they always fact check them as part of covering those tweets. “We truth squad all of them as soon as they come up. We report it and tell the public the truth of every tweet. We have to truth test them,” he said.