Is the liberal media trying to sabotage Trump? Follow us for a second on this one….
Buzzfeed’s Ben Smith noted in his column today that Trump did a sitdown with the Times, presumably to pitch the paper for an endorsement. These meetings are both on and off the record. As Smith notes:
The New York Times is sitting on an audio recording that some of its staff believes could deal a serious blow to Donald Trump who, in an off-the-record meeting with the newspaper, called into question whether he would stand by his own immigration views.
Trump visited the paper’s Manhattan headquarters on Tuesday, Jan. 5, part of a round of editorial board meetings that — as is traditional — the Democratic candidates for president and some of the Republicans attended. The meetings, conducted partly on the record and partly off the record in a 13th floor conference room, give candidates a chance to make their pitch for the paper’s endorsement.
After a dispute over Trump’s suggestion of tariffs on Chinese goods, the Timesreleased a portion of the recording. But that was from the on-the-record part of the session.
On Saturday, columnist Gail Collins, one of the attendees at the meeting (which also included editor-in-chief Dean Baquet), floated a bit of speculation in her column:
The most optimistic analysis of Trump as a presidential candidate is that he just doesn’t believe in positions, except the ones you adopt for strategic purposes when you’re making a deal. So you obviously can’t explain how you’re going to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants, because it’s going to be the first bid in some future monster negotiation session.
Great. So the reporter suggests that Trump may be misleading the American public on immigration. But does he offer proof? Of course not!
So what exactly did Trump say about immigration, about deportations, about the wall? Did he abandon a core promise of his campaign in a private conversation with liberal power brokers in New York?
I wasn’t able to obtain the recording, or the transcript, and don’t know exactly what Trump said. Neither Baquet, Collins, nor various editorial board members I reached would comment on an off-the-record conversation, which the Times essentially said they cannot release without approval from Trump, given the nature of the off-the-record agreement.
Times editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal told me he would not comment “on what was off the record at our meeting with him.”
Got it? So newspapers and organizations that will grill Ben Carson and Donald Trump’s speeches for any minutiae that might discredit them are allowed to claim that “Donald Trump is probably lying when he talks about immigration” but then they offer no substantive evidence to back that claim.