Washington, Aug 16 : At least 350 news outlets have launched a campaign to counter US President Donald Trump’s attacks against the media and promote a free press.The move was initiated by the Boston Globe for a nationwide denouncement of the President’s “dirty war” against the media, using the hashtag #EnemyOfNone. It pledged to write an editorial “on the dangers of the administration’s assault on the press” and asked others to do the same.
Hundreds of US newspapers, from the Martha’s Vineyard Times to the Dallas Morning News; from the Yankton County Observer in South Dakota to the Bangor Daily News in Maine, devoted print space on Thursday in an joint effort to defend press freedom in the country.
He certainly ramped up the pressure on mainstream media with numerous tweets. The Trump Twitter Archive says he has tweeted 281 times so far using the term “fake news”.
The Boston Globe in its editorial, “Journalists Are Not The Enemy”, argued that a free press had been a core American principle for more than 200 years and invited newspapers across the country to stand up for the press with editorials on Thursday, and several began appearing online a day earlier.
In St. Louis, the Post-Dispatch called journalists “the truest of patriots .” The Chicago Sun-Times said it believed most Americans know that Trump is talking nonsense. The Fayetteville, N.C. Observer said it hoped Trump would stop, “but we’re not holding our breath .”
The campaign is significant because it moves the conversation about Trump’s attacks out of Washington and New York and into communities across the country. He often derides media reports as “fake news” and attacks journalists as “enemies of the people”.
The New York Times in its article, A Free Press Needs You”, called Trump’s attacks “dangerous to the lifeblood of democracy”. It published excerpts from dozens more publications beneath.
The New York Post, answered the Globe’s call by saying “Who are we to disagree?” adding: “It may be frustrating to argue that just because we print inconvenient truths doesn’t mean that we’re fake news, but being a journalist isn’t a popularity contest. All we can do is to keep reporting.”
But it also said: “Will this make a difference? Not one whit”
The Philadelphia Inquirer said its city was the birthplace of US democracy, writing: “If the press is not free from reprisal, punishment or suspicion for unpopular views or information, neither is the country. Neither are its people.”
The Wall Street Journal declined to take part in the campaign.
A poll released by Quinnipiac University showed that most Americans, 65 per cent, regard the news media as an important part of democracy, not an “enemy”.
But 26 per cent of respondents, including 51 per cent of Republicans, sided with Trump’s “enemy” rhetoric.