Thursday, August 16, 2018


Bravo to the hundreds of newspapers that made good on their promise to editorialize against President Donald Trump's anti-press rhetoric today.

As noted earlier this week, The Boston Globe launched the effort with a plea last week to its fellow daily papers, and others, to use their opinion space today to rail against Trump's false claims of "fake news," as well as his hateful attacks on the media that include calling the press the "enemy of the people" and all but promoting violence against them.

"Replacing a free media with a state-run media has always been a first order of business for any corrupt regime taking over a country," the Globe editorial stated today. "Today in the United States we have a president who has created a mantra that members of the media who do not blatantly support the policies of the current US administration are the “enemy of the people.” This is one of the many lies that have been thrown out by this president, much like an old-time charlatan threw out 'magic' dust or water on a hopeful crowd."

The Globe first requested other papers to follow in a plea issued on August 10 that urged editorial boards nationwide to take a stand today. Hundreds did, with many linked through the Globe website. The Globe also posted a strong video that included reminders of Trump's hateful press bashing and its continued reasons for protesting.

Among others that weighed in is The New York Times, which stated, in part:

“Public discussion is a political duty,” the Supreme Court said in 1964. That discussion must be “uninhibited, robust, and wide-open,” and “may well include vehement, caustic and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials.”
In 2018, some of the most damaging attacks are coming from government officials. Criticizing the news media — for underplaying or overplaying stories, for getting something wrong — is entirely right. News reporters and editors are human, and make mistakes. Correcting them is core to our job. But insisting that truths you don’t like are “fake news” is dangerous to the lifeblood of democracy. And calling journalists the “enemy of the people” is dangerous, period.

The Times also published parts of many other newspaper editorials -- from the Arizona Daily Star of Tucson to the Times-Tribune in Corbin, KY. -- claiming the same view, both on its editorial page and online.

Even the conservative Orange County Register weighed in, stating

The news media are not enemies of the people, and a free press is critical to an informed citizenry that seeks to hold its government accountable. Disparaging the press in the face of unfavorable coverage is a cheap way to dodge the issues and wouldn’t be allowed in a basic debate class ... Donald Trump is not the first president to be frustrated by negative press coverage. The press has been adversarial since the earliest days of our nation, when our founding fathers made frequent use of newspapers — some of them owned newspapers — to advance their political ideologies, and more frequently, to disparage each other, often anonymously.

But not everyone obliged, with The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Chronicle among those taking a pass. Although each did mention they agreed that Trump went overboard, they said they wanted to remain independent and not join a group effort. "This newspaper’s editorial board has previously responded to Trump’s attacks on news organizations," the Post wrote. "But Editorial Page Editor Fred Hiatt said Saturday that the board would not participate in the organized response."

Still, those that did use the day to shoot back at the anti-press president made a strong statement that will hopefully carry on as they continue the important work of speaking truth to power.

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