Trump’s war on media draws editorials in nearly 350 US outlets


WASHINGTON, AUGUST 16: In an unprecedented move, nearly 350 media outlets on Thursday launched a coordinated campaign decrying US President Donald Trump’s frequent attacks on journalists and his attempt to portray some news organisations as enemies of the American people.
Mr. Trump has stepped up his attacks on the media in recent weeks and the White House last month barred a CNN reporter from covering a public event after she asked Mr. Trump an “inappropriate” question.
The Boston Globe made the call last week for a nationwide denouncement of President Trump’s “dirty war” against the media, using the hashtag #EnemyOfNone. Each newspaper participating in the effort wrote its own separate editorial against the US President’s anti-media comments.
Mr. Trump has frequently derided unfavourable media reports as “fake news” and attacked journalists as “enemies of the people”.
The Trump Twitter Archive says he has tweeted 281 times so far using the term “fake news”.
Replacing a free media with a state-run media has always been a first order of business for any corrupt regime taking over a country, The Boston Globe said in its editorial.
“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.” 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,” the stinging editorial commented.
The Editorial Board of The New York Times noted that this year, some of the most damaging attacks came from government officials.
“Criticising the news media — for underplaying or overplaying stories, for getting something wrong — is entirely right. News reporters and editors are human, and make mistakes. Correcting them is core to our job.
“But 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,” it said.
These attacks on the press are particularly threatening to journalists in nations with a less secure rule of law and to smaller publications in the United States, already buffeted by the industry’s economic crisis, the influential paper noted.
The New York Post — hardly a left-leaning paper — 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.
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“. (PTI)