New York, February 27, 2017:Â On Sunday morning, the time when many engage in the weekend ritual of reading the news over coffee, a large crowd converged outside The New York Timesâ€™s Manhattan headquarters on Eighth Avenue to defend the countryâ€™s press.
â€œItâ€™s a New York Sunday tradition,â€ read a sign held by Norman Cohen, a freelance TV producer, â€œCoffee, Bagels, and a FREE PRESS.â€ The protest, which was led by Get Organized BK, was in response to President Trumpâ€™s decision on Friday to bar several news organizations from a White House briefing, including The Times.
â€” Sarah Maslin Nir (@SarahMaslinNir) February 26, 2017
â€œWhen The New York Times is under attack, what do we do?â€ Michael Zorek, a stay-at-home father from the Upper West Side of Manhattan screamed to the crowd. â€œStand up! Fight back!â€ The group boomed back, responding with the mantra as Mr. Zorek shouted again, listing names of news organizations from BuzzFeed to the Public Broadcasting Service.
Dean Baquet, the executive editor of The New York Times, praised the protestersâ€™ efforts. By blocking certain reporters from attending Fridayâ€™s open briefing, the presidentâ€™s press secretary, Sean M. Spicer, â€œundermines one of the few institutions that has as its role asking tough, independent-minded questions of the president,â€ Mr. Baquet said.
The Trump administration did not respond to an email requesting comment.
On Eighth Avenue, two men held a large American flag, on which they had written â€œPress Freedomâ€ in red, white and blue. On a piece of cardboard was a quotation from Senator John McCain, an Arizona Republican: â€œWhen you look at history, the first thing dictators do is shut down the press.â€
The president has used Twitter to declare the press â€œthe enemy of the American people.â€ Mr. Baquet disagreed, saying, â€œI donâ€™t look at us as the enemy of the White House. I look at us as people who are aggressively covering the White House.â€
As the protest concluded, some people waved Sundayâ€™s edition of The Times, folded to reveal a full-page advertisement from the newspaper.
It read: â€œTruth. Itâ€™s more important now than ever.â€
ByÂ Sarah Maslin Nir