Donald Trump called the news media “the enemy of the American people” just one month after taking office. In the following year, according to CNN, he used the phrases “fake news,” “fake stories,” “fake media” or “fake polls” — over 400 times.
And now a major newspaper has organized a coordinated response from editorial boards of other newspapers across the country to Trump’s excessive attacks on the news media which many people believe are attacks on freedom of the press.
‘‘We are not the enemy of the people,’’ said Marjorie Pritchard, deputy managing editor for the editorial page of The Boston Globe. Her comment was a reference to a commonly used description of the press used by Trump who often says he has been covered unfairly by the news media.
Through Pritchard’s efforts The Globe has reached out to editorial boards across the United States asking them to write and publish editorials on August 16th denouncing what they are calling Trump’s ‘‘dirty war against the free press.’’
Pritchard said that so far there are over 70 news organizations that have committed to writing and publishing editorials on the topic. She said the list may grow over the next several days also.
Publications involved include daily newspapers in major cities, such as the Houston Chronicle, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Miami Herald and Denver Post, to weekly newspapers in small towns with circulations as low as 4,000.
The Globe’s request has been circulated through newspaper industry groups such as the American Society of News Editors and the New England Newspaper and Press Association. They asked that editorial boards take a unified stand against Trump’s words regardless of their politics, saying the battle they are waging is not partisan in nature. Even if a newspaper supports Trump’s policies they still want them to take part in protecting freedom of the press.
‘‘Our words will differ. But at least we can agree that such attacks are alarming,’’ The Globe’s appeal said. They know that different newspapers will take different approaches which is fine because they have a common goal.
Pritchard, said the decision to seek a coordinated response from so many different news outlets came about after Trump stepped up his verbal assaults on the press over the past few weeks. She said she hopes that what they are doing will make a lasting impression on their readers.
‘‘I hope it will educate our readers to realize that an attack on the First Amendment is unacceptable,’’ she said. ‘‘We are a free and independent press, it is one of the most sacred principles enshrined in the Constitution.’’
Concerns were raised on August 2nd when Press Secretary Sarah Sanders had a full meltdown and refused to state that the press is not the enemy of the people. Other people have expressed fears that Trump’s harsh rhetoric may get people killed.
Several journalists were killed in June in Annapolis, Maryland causing Trump to come under intense criticism for his inflammatory rhetoric.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.