US newspapers hit back at Trump, defend free press | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 17, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, August 17, 2018

US newspapers rebuke Trump

350 newspapers write editorials on the same day to denounce attacks on press

Hundreds of US newspapers yesterday launched a coordinated defense of press freedom and a rebuke of President Donald Trump for denouncing some media organisations as enemies of the American people.

The Boston Globe and the New York Times took part along with more than 350 other newspapers of all sizes, including some in states that Trump won during the 2016 presidential election.

The Globe said it coordinated publication among the newspapers and carried details of it on a database on its website.

Each paper ran an editorial, which is usually an unsigned article that reflects the opinion of an editorial board and is separate from the news and other sections in a paper.

The Globe's editorial accused Trump of carrying out a "sustained assault on the free press."

"The greatness of America is dependent on the role of a free press to speak the truth to the powerful," it said. "To label the press 'the enemy of the people' is as un-American as it is dangerous to the civic compact we have shared for more than two centuries."

Trump has frequently criticized journalists and described news reports that contradict his opinion or policy positions as fake news.

He lashed out again yesterday, tweeting "THE FAKE NEWS MEDIA IS THE OPPOSITION PARTY. It is very bad for our Great Country....BUT WE ARE WINNING!"

His comments reflect a view held by many conservatives that most newspapers and other news outlets distort, make up or omit facts because of a bias against them.

A representative for the White House could not immediately be reached for comment on the editorials.

The New York Times editorial said it was right to criticize the news media for underplaying or overplaying stories or for getting something wrong in a story.

"News reporters and editors are human, and make mistakes. Correcting them is core to our job," it said. "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."

Yesterday's coordinated editorials were criticised by some in the media, including a CBS News commentary that described them as a "self-defeating act of journalistic groupthink."

"Seriously — Who's going to be persuaded by this effort, or be impressed that a few hundred newspapers can hum the same tune? Who's even going to notice?" CBS News' commentary asked.

In January, US Senator Jeff Flake, a Republican from Arizona, said Trump had embraced the despotic language of former Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.

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