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US papers join forces to fight president’s rhetoric


President Trump has repeatedly denounced some newspapers. Photo: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
President Trump has repeatedly denounced some newspapers. Photo: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Hundreds of US newspapers yesterday launched a co-ordinated defence of press freedom and a stinging rebuke of President Donald Trump for denouncing some media organisations as enemies of the American people.

The ‘Boston Globe’ and the ‘New York Times’ took part along with more than 350 other newspapers of all sizes, including some in states that Mr Trump won during the 2016 presidential election.

The ‘Globe’ said it pulled together publication among the newspapers and carried details of it on a database on its website.

Each paper ran an editorial, which is usually an unsigned article that reflects the opinion of an editorial board and is separate from the rest of the paper.

The ‘Globe’ editorial accused Trump of carrying out a “sustained assault on the free press”.

“The greatness of America is dependent on the role of a free press to speak the truth to the powerful,” it said.

“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.”

Mr Trump has frequently criticised journalists and described news reports that contradict his opinion or policy positions as fake news.

He lashed out again yesterday, tweeting “THE FAKE NEWS MEDIA IS THE OPPOSITION PARTY. It is very bad for our Great Country….BUT WE ARE WINNING!”

His comments reflect a view held by many conservatives that most newspapers and other news outlets distort, make up or omit facts because of a bias against them.

A representative for the White House could not immediately be reached for comment on the editorials.

The ‘New York Times’ editorial said it was right to attack the news media for underplaying or overplaying stories or for getting something wrong in a story.

“News reporters and editors are human, and make mistakes. Correcting them is core to our job,” it said.

“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.”

Yesterday’s blanket editorials were slated by some in the media, including a CBS News commentary that described them as a “self-defeating act of journalistic groupthink”.

“Seriously. Who’s going to be persuaded by this effort, or be impressed that a few hundred newspapers can hum the same tune? Who’s even going to notice?” CBS News’ commentary asked.

In January, US Senator Jeff Flake, a Republican from Arizona, said Trump had embraced the despotic language of former Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.

Irish Independent

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