More than 350 newspapers in the United States on Thursday launched a coordinated defense of press freedom and a rebuke of President Trump for claiming the media is an enemy of the people, Reuters reports.
The move was coordinated by the Boston Globe: “A central pillar of President Trump’s politics is a sustained assault on the free press,” their editorial said. “The greatness of America is dependent on the role of a free press to speak the truth to the powerful,” the Boston Globe wrote. “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 editorials were even published by some newspapers in states that Trump won in the presidential election.
The First Amendment of the US Constitution guarantees freedom of the press. However, Trump is known for his frequent criticism of journalists and his claims that most of the negative coverage he gets is “fake news”.
Trump responded to the editorials on Twitter, writing “THE FAKE NEWS MEDIA IS THE OPPOSITION PARTY. It is very bad for our Great Country….BUT WE ARE WINNING!”
He continued by attacking The Boston Globe directly: “The Boston Globe, which was sold to the the Failing New York Times for 1.3 BILLION DOLLARS (plus 800 million dollars in losses & investment), or 2.1 BILLION DOLLARS, was then sold by the Times for 1 DOLLAR. Now the Globe is in COLLUSION with other papers on free press. PROVE IT!”
Later, he wrote that he actually wants a free press, but that much of the current press is fake news: “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!”
The U.S. Senate unanimously adopted a non-binding resolution on Thursday that affirmed the “vital and indispensable role” played by the news media and declared that “the press is not the enemy of the people.”
Some members of the press have criticized this effort by the 350+ newspapers. Jack Shafer from Politico wrote that the editorials would “provide Trump with circumstantial evidence of the existence of a national press cabal that has been convened solely to oppose him.”