The cold relationship between the US President Donald Trump and the American press has taken a new turn. A first of it’s kind move, a Boston newspaper is proposing a coordinated editorial response from publications across the US to President Donald Trump’s frequent attacks on the news media.
“We are not the enemy of the people,” said Marjorie Pritchard, a deputy managing editor of The Boston Globe, referring to a characterisation of journalists that Trump has used in the past. The president, who contends he has largely been covered unfairly by the press, also employs the term “fake news” often when describing the media.
The Boston Globe has reached out to editorial boards nationwide to write and publish editorials on 16 August denouncing what the newspaper called a “dirty war against the free press.”
Pritchard, who oversees The Boston Globe’s editorial page, said about 70 outlets had committed to editorials so far, with the list expected to grow. The publications ranged from large metropolitan dailies, such as the Houston Chronicle, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Miami Herald and Denver Post, to small weekly papers with circulations as low as 4,000.
The newspaper’s request was being promoted by industry groups such as the American Society of News Editors and regional groups like the New England Newspaper and Press Association. It suggested editorial boards take a common stand against Trump’s words regardless of their politics, or whether they generally editorialized in support of or in opposition to the president’s policies.
“Our words will differ. But at least we can agree that such attacks are alarming,” the appeal stated, acknowledging that newspapers were likely to take different approaches.
Pritchard, who oversees the Globe’s editorial page, said the decision to seek the coordinated response from newspapers was reached after Trump appeared to step up his rhetoric in recent weeks.
At an Aug. 2 political rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Trump told his audience that the media was “fake, fake disgusting news.”
“Whatever happened to the free press? Whatever happened to honest reporting?” the president asked, pointing to journalists covering the event. “They don’t report it. They only make up stories.”
Pritchard said she hoped the editorials would make an impression on Americans.
“I hope it would educate 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.”