Joe Concha hits back at NYT op-ed that declared 2019 the 'darkest year' for journalists in Trump era

2019 was not the "darkest year yet for journalists" under the Trump administration, The Hill's Joe Concha argued Thursday.

Concha told "Fox & Friends" host Steve Doocy that he "profoundly disagreed" with a New York Times op-ed published on Monday that claimed that threats of "retribution," accusations of "fake news" and the suspension of White House briefings made 2019 the worst year for journalists thus far in the Trump era.

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"Mr. Trump's vilification of the news media is a hallmark of his tenure and a jagged break from the norms of his predecessors: Once a global champion of the free press the presidency has become an inspiration to autocrats and dictators who ape Mr. Trump's cry of 'fake news,'" wrote media correspondent Michael M. Grynbaum.

Concha said that while the Times writer alleged that the president's "attacks" on the press marked "ominous signs," the former president Barack Obama's administration had "rejected more FOIA requests – Freedom of Information Act requests – than any other administration."

"I don't remember The New York Times talking about how that was a dark time for journalists because they agreed with the administration that was in power at that time," he stated, also noting that the "Gray Lady" has not endorsed a Republican candidate for president in more than 60 years.

"We always hear how President Trump is a big threat to journalists and reporters," Concha remarked. "He has taken more questions directly from reporters than Obama, Bush, Clinton, Bush Sr., Reagan...How is he a threat, therefore, if you're speaking to the man himself?"

Concha said that "every study" and "research from nonpartisan places like Pew" show that the president has been covered "at a clip of 92 percent, 93 percent negative."

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"It's not just that the reporting is negative, it has become obviously hostile," he noted. "So when he criticizes them back ... he is exercising his First Amendment right to criticize [journalists]."

"He has every right to criticize the press," Concha concluded.