NYT’s response to Trump’s lawyers: ‘Nothing in our article has had the slightest effect on the reputation that Mr. Trump … has already created for himself’

You might have heard: Sources in the Trump campaign claim they’re going to sue NYT for libel over its story in which two women claim that Trump “touched them inappropriately”

But did you know: Trump’s lawyers called on The New York Times to retract its story, saying the article was “reckless, defamatory and constitutes libel per se.” NYT says it will not retract the story, and its legal counsel argued that Trump himself has publicly described such behavior, so the article had little effect on his reputation. Plus, the response details the NYT reporters’ efforts to confirm the women’s stories and the fact that they included a response from Trump in the story. “Nothing in our article has had the slightest effect on the reputation that Mr. Trump, through his own words and actions, has already created for himself,” David E. McCraw writes in the response. “We did what the law allows: We published newsworthy information about a subject of deep public concern. If Mr. Trump disagrees, if he believes that American citizens had no right to hear what these women had to say and that the law of this country forces us and those who would dare to criticize him to stand silent or be punished, we welcome the opportunity to have a court set him straight.”

+ Bloomberg Politics managing editor Mark Halperin criticizes NYT’s response: “Fighting with Donald Trump making additional sort of ad hominem accusations against him, they should do their speaking in the paper, in their journalism, and they did some great journalism yesterday and they should do their arguing in court if necessary. But to put that letter in public making those accusations, if my news organizations did that, I would be uncomfortable. We have to be fair and even in this campaign and not basically take sides and say this is an accurate portrayal of who Donald Trump is.” (Media Matters for America); Trump would be unlikely to win a libel suit against NYT because there’s no dispute that the women made the statements and the story is “about the highest public interest you could have” (Poynter)

+ The Committee to Protect Journalists releases a statement saying “a Trump presidency represents a threat to press freedom unknown in modern history”(Committee to Protect Journalists)