President-elect Donald Trump is continuing his battle with one of the country’s biggest news outlets, the New York Times.
On Sunday morning, Trump tweeted: “Wow, the @nytimes is losing thousands of subscribers because of their very poor and highly inaccurate coverage of the ‘Trump phenomena.'”
Trump did not cite any evidence to back up his claim. And the Times flatly says it is not true.
The newspaper crunched the numbers on Sunday morning and found that it has gained a lot more subscribers than it has lost since Election Day. Then it responded to Trump, naturally, on Twitter.
“Fact: surge in new subscriptions, print digital, with trends, stops starts, 4 X better than normal,” the Times said.
Trump posted two other messages that were critical of the Times on Sunday. And the strange timing was not lost on anyone. In an interview on Friday, Trump told CBS that he would be more “restrained” on social media.
“I’m going to be very restrained, if I use it at all, I’m going to be very restrained,” he told Lesley Stahl, in an interview that will be shown on “60 Minutes” on Sunday night.
After critiquing the Times on Sunday, Trump posted a tweet about his supporters that misspelled the word speeches as “speaches.” It was quickly deleted and reposted — from a different phone — implying that one of his staffers fixed it for him.
Times reporters and other media industry types responded to Trump’s anti-Times comments on Sunday by urging more people to sign up for the paper.
And Times TV critic James Poniewozik suggested that the president-elect’s critiques were part of a broader attempt to make journalists fear him.
“This tweet is aimed as much, or more, at warning other news outlets,” Poniewozik tweeted. He said the intended message was “Cross me, and I’ll rally my voters, and you’ll lose audience and money.”
In recent days, some critics have assailed the Times for trying and failing to take down Trump’s campaign. Times editors have rejected those assertions.
On Friday, the newspaper’s publisher, Arthur Sulzberger, wrote a letter to subscribers saying “let’s pause for a moment on those famous instructions that Adolph S. Ochs left for us: to cover the news without fear or favor.”
“As Donald Trump begins preparing for his new administration, those words have rarely felt more important,” Sulzberger said.
In a followup tweet, Trump wrongly characterized the letter as an “apology” for earlier coverage.
Trump later tweeted at the Times for a third time Sunday morning, calling the paper “dishonest” for an article about his foreign policy proposals.
In an article published online Friday, Times foreign affairs writer Max Fisher wrote that Trump “has suggested that more countries should acquire nuclear weapons.”
“How dishonest are they,” Trump tweeted Sunday. “I never said this!”
Trump has, in fact, said many things about nuclear weapons, and some of the comments have been contradictory.
During the campaign he expressed concerns about nuclear proliferation, but also said during a CNN debate that “maybe it’s going to have to be time to change.”
He said “it’s only a question of time” before other countries gain nuclear weapons, regardless of what the United States does.