More than 300 newspapers in the United States and elsewhere on Thursday ran editorials denouncing President Donald Trump’s attacks on the press.
The media has become a regular punching bag for the President who has accused several media organisations as peddling “fake news”, calling journalists the “enemy of the people” who could also start wars.
In a move spearheaded by the Boston Globe, the nations newsrooms are pushing in a series of coordinated editorials condemning the President’s penchant for attacking the free press.
Leading publications from the New York Times, the Washington Post, NBC News, CNN and others have all felt the ire of a President who does not take kindly to critical reporting of his administration – particularly the blatant lies that have been peddled by both this President and those who work for him.
The Boston Globe has warned that this behaviour has dangerous consequences. These are just some examples of President Trump taking direct aim at the media.
“You can talk all you want about Russia which was all a fake news fabricated deal to make up for the loss of the Democrats.”
“It’s frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write, and people should look into it.”
“They can make anything bad because they are the fake, fake, disgusting news,” he said, adding “They are the enemy of the people.”
At their urging of the Boston Globe, hundreds of liberal and conservative editorial boards have heeded the call: The Philadelphia Enquirer said a war on the press is a war on democracy.
The Chicago Tribune told the President they’re not the enemies of the people but a check on government. The Miami Herald called for President Trump to end his war on the free press while the Denver Post said they had no political filter, just a desire to inform the public.
Director for Freedom of Expression at UNESCO, Guy Berger says, “One wants to not put the press above criticism but one doesn’t want the press to be subject to strong rhetoric which could fuel antagonism against journalists in general and so I think it’s important in countries where you do have press freedom that there is a vibrant debate about that but it should try to be in civil terms.”
CNN reporter Jim Acosta has covered the Trump campaign and Presidency for more than two years.
“As I like to remind people because we forget these things. During the campaign the now president, then candidate Donald Trump, referred to the press as liars, as scum, as thieves, as disgusting and dishonest and he carried that act, that stick right into the White House and started to refer to us as the enemy of the people and fake news. That has had a corrosive effect. I think it has undermined people’s confidence in the press and what we’ve seen since then is not only does the President do it but he has legions of followers who will repeat that and parrot that on social media.”
With observations that the public lacks a broader understanding of the role of the press. Columnist Melinda Henneberger of the Kansas City Star has this to say:
“There’s just much less understanding than there used to be, we work for the public, we’re not pushing an agenda which is another thing I hear all the time, our agenda is facts and that’s the other frightening thing I think. Facts are under assault. The idea that there would be a shared knowledge base and we would come up with and if it were very well proven, the public would say, whoa, okay, I’m gonna react to that. And that has really been eroded in a very serious and dangerous way.”
In a tweet earlier on Thursday, President Trump said quote – “The fake news media is the opposition party. It is very bad for our great country but we are winning” – closed quotes – the clearest indication yet that he will take no heed of the appeals made by hundreds of newsrooms around the country.