Hundreds of newspapers in the US have launched a coordinated campaign to defend the freedom of press and have rebuked President Donald Trump for criticizing some media organizations as enemies of the American people.
“A central pillar of President Trump’s politics is a sustained assault on the free press,” an editorial by the Boston Globe, which coordinated publication among more than 350 newspapers, said on Thursday.
“The greatness of America is dependent on the role of a free press to speak the truth to the powerful,” the Globe 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.”
Each of the newspapers, including some in states that Trump won during the 2016 presidential election, ran an editorial, which is usually an unsigned article that reflects the opinion of an editorial board and is separate from the news and other sections in a paper.
Trump has frequently criticized journalists and described news reports that contradict his opinion or policy positions as “fake news.”
He attacked the US media again on Thursday, tweeting “THE FAKE NEWS MEDIA IS THE OPPOSITION PARTY. It is very bad for our Great Country….BUT WE ARE WINNING!”
He also wrote there was nothing he would want more for the United States than true freedom of the press, but that much of what the media published was fake news, “pushing a political agenda or just plain trying to hurt people. HONESTY WINS!”
The Republican president’s comments reflect a view held by many conservatives that most newspapers and other news organization in the US often distort, fabricate or exclude facts because of a bias against them.
The UN human rights commissioner warned on Monday that Trump’s verbal attacks on the media are “very close to incitement to violence” against journalists.
Last month, the publisher of the New York Times made a similar warning and urged Trump to stop attacking the news media.
The US Senate in Congress unanimously adopted a non-binding resolution on Thursday that affirmed the “vital and indispensable role” played by the news media and declared that “the press is not the enemy of the people.”
In January, US Senator Jeff Flake, a Republican from Arizona, said Trump had embraced the repressive language used by the former leader of the Soviet Union Joseph Stalin.