New York Times slammed for spiking audio of Stephen Miller's on-record comments on child migration

New York Times slammed for spiking audio of Stephen Miller's on-record comments on child migration
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The New York Times said Tuesday that it complied with a White House request not to publish audio from an interview with a top aide to President TrumpDonald John TrumpSasse: Trump shouldn't dignify Putin with Helsinki summit Top LGBT group projects message onto Presidential Palace in Helsinki ahead of Trump-Putin summit Hillary Clinton to Trump ahead of Putin summit: 'Do you know which team you play for?' MORE even though Stephen Miller's comments were on the record.

The newspaper said that reporters Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Michael D. Shear interviewed Miller, a staunch supporter of the president's immigration policies, for a story that was published in the paper's print and online editions over the weekend. The Times had also planned to use audio from  the Miller interview for its podcast "The Daily," which is downloaded more than 1 million times a day.

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Miller was directly quoted several times throughout the story, which focused exclusively on a "zero tolerance" immigration policy announced by Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsConservatives moving to impeach Rosenstein soon: report Senators urge DOJ to probe whether Russians posed as Islamic extremist hackers to harass US military families The Hill's Morning Report — Trump readies for Putin summit: 'He’s not my enemy’ MORE that has resulted in the separations of thousands of undocumented children from their parents at the border. But the White House later said it was "uncomfortable" with audio from the interview being made public, and claimed the interview was only supposed to be used in print and online form.

The Times relented, saying that the ground rules for the interview were not clear.

"After the original story was published, producers of The Daily planned to talk with the reporter and use audio excerpts from the Miller interview. White House officials objected, saying they had not agreed to a podcast interview. While Miller's comments were on the record, we realized that the ground rules for the original interview were not clear, and so we made a decision not to run the audio," the statement from the Times's communication department explains.

Davis, who interviewed Miller along with Shear, took to Twitter to offer a similar explanation for not using the audio for the podcast.

"Actually [Shear] & I interviewed Miller WH before last for our piece on the evolution of the family separation tactic, & after the fact, The Daily decided to do an episode based on that conversation. WH would not allow audio to be used," Davis wrote.

The Times immediately faced blowback for its decision, with some members of the media saying the paper caved too easily.

According to Times reporters who conducted the interview, Miller was a key figure in urging the president to enforce the zero tolerance policy toward migrant families, which has sparked heated debate across the country via heavy media coverage.

Several polls show Americans decidedly objecting to the policy.

A Quinnipiac University on Monday poll found respondents oppose the policy by a 66 to 27 percent margin. A majority of Republicans, 55 percent, support it, however.

Just 28 percent of Americans surveyed in a CNN poll said they support Trump's policy. It was supported by more than half of Republicans, 58 percent, pollsters found.