Washington: US newspapers big and small hit back Thursday at Donald Trump’s attacks on the news media with a coordinated campaign of editorials, triggering a fresh tirade from the president on Twitter. Leading the charge was The Boston Globe, which had called for the drive highlighting the importance of a free press, accompanied by the hashtag #EnemyOfNone.
More than 300 newspapers around the country joined the effort. “Today in the United States we have a president who has created a mantra that members of the media who do not blatantly support the policies of the current US administration are the ‘enemy of the people,'” the Globe editorial said.
“This is one of the many lies that have been thrown out by this president, much like an old-time charlatan threw out ‘magic’ dust or water on a hopeful crowd,” it added in a piece entitled “Journalists are not the Enemy.”
— Free Press (@freepress) August 16, 2018
The effort comes amid Trump’s persistent claims that mainstream media outlets that publish articles critical of him are churning out “fake news.”
The New York Times, a frequent target of Trump’s criticism, ran a seven-paragraph editorial under a giant headline with all capital letters that read “A FREE PRESS NEEDS YOU.”
“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,” the Times wrote.
Trump fired back on Twitter by repeating his contention that the “fake” news media is “the opposition party” and claiming the Boston Globe was “in collusion” against him with other media.
“There is nothing that I would want more for our Country than true FREEDOM OF THE PRESS,” he tweeted.
“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.”
The US Senate meanwhile countered the White House by unanimously passing a resolution citing the “indispensable role of the free press” and warning that efforts to undermine the media were “an attack on our democratic institutions.”
Other newspapers joining the campaign said Trump’s attacks diminish the importance of journalists in their communities.