US newspapers counter President Donald Trump with editorials

World Today

An editorial titled “A Free Press Needs You” is published in The New York Times, Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018, in New York. Newspapers from Maine to Hawaii pushed back against President Donald Trump’s attacks on “fake news” Thursday with a coordinated series of editorials speaking up for a free and vigorous press. The Boston Globe, which set the campaign in motion by urging the unified voice, had estimated that some 350 newspapers would participate. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

More than 300 U.S. newspapers published separate editorial commentaries Thursday – all taking on President Donald Trump for repeatedly calling the media “the enemy of the people” and “fake news.”

CGTN’s Jim Spellman reports.

The Boston Globe’s article reads, in part: “The greatness of America is dependent on the role of a free press to speak the truth to the powerful. 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.”

The Chicago Tribune writes: “Our role is to serve as a check on government. The president ought to get used to it.”

And Iowa’s Des Moines Register: “The true enemies of the people – and democracy – are those who try to suffocate truth by vilifying and demonizing the messenger. The response to that cannot be silence.”

Trump responded to the articles tweeting:

“There is nothing that I would want more for our Country than true FREEDOM OF THE PRESS. The fact is that the Press is FREE to write and say anything it wants, but much of what it says is FAKE NEWS, pushing a political agenda or just plain trying to hurt people. HONESTY WINS!”

Crowds at Trump rallies regularly yell at reporters and sometimes even threaten the journalists covering the President.

“No one wins this war because this is a war that undermines the basic confidence and not just journalism as the for the state but really all institutions and evidence-based thinking in this country it’s a very unfortunate thing that the president has sought short-term gain by demonizing the media,” says Frank Sesno, director of the School of Media and Public Affairs at the George Washington University and former CNN reporter and anchor.

There are growing concerns that this message coming from the White House will lead to violence against journalists.

There are signs that Trump’s repeated criticisms of the media are having an impact. A recent Ipsos poll finds 29% agree with the President that “The news media is the enemy of the American people.” It’s unclear if these newspaper articles will do anything to change that.