Media critic

Donald Trump greets supporters on April 19 in New York City after winning the New York state primary. (John Moore/Getty Images)

The week started with an assault on the New York Times by Donald Trump and his people. They were upset with a Sunday front-page story titled “Crossing the Line: How Donald Trump Behaved With Women in Private,” which documented a  pattern of sexist and demeaning behavior by the presumptive Republican nominee.

The mogul himself spattered Twitter with plugs for the complaints of one of those women — Rowanne Brewer Lane — about her depiction in the story. She was featured in the lede of the piece and spoke of how Trump asked her to put on a bathing suit during a party at his Florida resort Mar-a-Lago. Though Trump took Brewer Lane out to the pool and declared “‘That is a stunning Trump girl, isn’t it?’” she claimed Monday morning on “Fox & Friends” that she found the circumstances flattering — a point not reflected in the Times piece.

There was a great deal more. A Trump attorney on Monday evening said that filing a lawsuit against the New York Times was a “distinct possibility.” That sentiment aligned with this tweet from Trump, laced with the language of media legal threat:

On Tuesday morning, Trump Organization general counsel Michael Cohen told CNN that litigation was unlikely, though he did say, “They need to do a retraction and they need to actually be fair, because they’re destroying their paper.”

Campaigns, celebrities, companies and institutions that seek a retraction from a news organization generally lay out their case in writing. Anyone in media is familiar with this species of communication — stern, scolding and sometimes nasty in tone, the letters explain the alleged lapses in reporting, the impact of the alleged lapses in reporting, and the request: A full retraction of the story’s central thesis. Or something along those lines.

No such letter has issued from the Trump camp, according to the New York Times. “Since the story was published, we have not received any direct communication from the Trump people*. They did not seek a correction or initiate any other action,” writes New York Times spokeswoman Danielle Rhoades Ha in an email to the Erik Wemple Blog.

More corroboration that the Trump campaign is running a media-obsessed, substance-averse campaign. Were the Trump people authentically interested in securing a correction or retraction from the New York Times, they would have sent a letter and sought a meeting. Such an effort would have been a slog, for sure: The New York Times has stood by its story and even issued a statement rebuffing Brewer Lane’s complaints. “Ms. Brewer Lane was quoted fairly, accurately and at length,” noted the statement, in part. As this blog wrote this week, the Trump case against the women story was weak. Yet campaigns that put their gripes in written form can reap significant benefits, as the Clinton campaign demonstrated last summer in blasting the New York Times for its story about Hillary Clinton’s email.

Perhaps Trump didn’t have the time to muster a retraction request, after all. He may have been too busy calling into a CNN control room to orchestrate favorable media coverage.

*After this story was published, the New York Times sent a clarification of the circumstances: “A lawyer in Trump’s office called [Executive Editor] Dean Baquet earlier this week. The lawyer did not seek a correction or dispute any facts or quotes in the story. The Times has received no formal requests for a correction or any other action.” The headline was amended to account for this change.