Hundreds of newspaper across the U.S. on Thursday, August 16 joined together in calling out President Donald Trump’s diatribes against news media which he has more than once dubbed “the enemy of the people.”
Nearly 350 editorials were published Thursday, after the Boston Globe last week encouraged editorial boards to write and publish editorials to condemn what it described as a “dirty war against the free press.”
“This relentless assault on the free press has dangerous consequences. We asked editorial boards from around the country — liberal and conservative, large and small — to join us today to address this fundamental threat in their own words,” wrote the Boston Globe.
Trending on Twitter nationwide was the hashtag, #freepress.
In response, Trump on Thursday, sent out tweets saying that the “fake news media is the opposition party.”
“It is very bad for our Great Country…. BUT WE ARE WINNING,” tweeted Trump, before accusing the Boston Globe for “collusion with other papers on free press.”
Among the over 300 papers that sent their editorials were the Fresno Bee, the Orange County Register, the Denver Post, the Chicago Sun-Times, and the New York Times which described Trump’s labeling of the press as the enemy, “dangerous.”
“In 2018, some of the most damaging attacks are coming from government officials,” said the New York Times in its editorial.
The paper added that correcting mistakes were “core to our job.”
“But insisting that truths you don’t like are ‘fake news’ is dangerous to the lifeblood of democracy,” added the New York Times. “These attacks on the press are particularly threatening to journalists in nations with a less secure rule of law and to smaller publications in the United States, already buffeted by the industry’s economic crisis.”
But a number of newspapers that have been critical of Trump did choose not to send out editorials. These included the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Washington Post.
Editorial page editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, John Diaz, explained the paper’s reason despite being in agreement with the Boston Globe’s deputy managing editor for the editorial page, Marjorie Pritchard.
“It’s not that we take issues with the argument that Trump’s assault on the truth generally, and his efforts to diminish the free press specifically, pose a serious threat to American democracy,” wrote Diaz.
“One of our most essential values is independence. The Globe’s argument is that having a united front on the issue — with voices from Boise to Boston taking a stand for the First Amendment, each in a newspaper’s own words — makes a powerful statement,” he added. “However, I would counter that answering a call to join the crowd, no matter how worthy the cause, is not the same as an institution deciding on its own to raise a matter.”
The Capital Gazette, which lost staff members last month in a targeted shooting attack, said that Trump’s opinion was not something they saw as important.
“It’s not the we disagree with concerns about the president’s language in speeches and on social media. We noted with regret the hurtful nature of his remarks last month calling most journalists dishonest even as we attended funerals for five friends and colleagues killed in the June 28 attack on our newsroom,” said the paper.
“We’re just not coordinating with other news organizations because the president’s opinion, frankly, is just not that important to us,” added the Capital Gazette. “We are far more concerned about what this community thinks of us.”
Trump has labeled news media as “the enemy” many times since taking office. He first called news media “the enemy of the American people,” just amonth into his presidency.
Earlier this month, Trump blasted the media at a Pennsylvania campaign rally, calling it “fake, fake, disgusting news.”
Targeting specific outlets, Trump before called the New York Times and the Washington Post, “anti-Trump haters” that “do nothing but write bad stories even on very positive achievements — they will never change.”
He was also reportedly upset when first lady Melania Trump’s television on Air Force One was tuned to CNN.