News organizations in many Western democracies face decreasing trust amid fake news accusations. In this situation, news organizations risk losing their license to operate and need to defend their legitimacy. This study analyzes how The New York Times (NYT) discredits fake news accusations, which are prominently expressed by US President Trump. A critical discourse analysis of the NYT’s news articles about fake news accusations in the first 70 days following President Trump’s inauguration reveals four delegitimizing strategies. First, the accusations are taken as a “badge of honor” for professional journalism but are morally evaluated to damage journalism’s role as the fourth estate in democracy. Second, using sarcasm, the articles criticize President Trump’s capacity to govern and thus question his legitimacy. Third, reporting implies that fake news accusations aim at suppressing critical thinking as in authoritarian regimes. Fourth, accusations are described as irrational responses to professional reporting or proven to be factually wrong, when possible. Overall, reporting in the NYT portrays President Trump as an irresponsible leader risking the well-being of the country’s citizens, its journalism, and its democracy, as well as journalism in foreign countries.