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Published On: Thu, Aug 16th, 2018

350 newsrooms banded to push back against Trump’s war on the media

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U.S. Republican presidential candidate businessman Donald Trump speaks at a veteran's rally in Des Moines, Iowa January 28, 2016. REUTERS/Rick Wilking  - RTX24HM9

U.S. Republican presidential candidate businessman Donald Trump speaks at a veteran’s rally in Des Moines, Iowa January 28, 2016. REUTERS/Rick Wilking – RTX24HM9

WASHINGTON : 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.
Hundreds of newspapers across the US have banded together to push back against Donald Trump’s attacks on journalists, whom he has often attacked as “fake news” and “an enemy of the 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.
Newsrooms ranging in size and political spectrum this week on Thursday published editorials arguing that the president’s frequent assaults on the media were unjustified and that journalists were “not the enemy.”
The list of participating newsrooms totaled more than 350 as of Thursday morning, according to the Boston Globe, which launched the initiative. The Boston Globe wrote in its Wednesday 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 opinions of newsroom editorial boards are typically separate from their news coverage. ”

The newsrooms’ editorials come two weeks after an Ipsos poll found that almost a third of Americans agreed with the sentence: “The news media is the enemy of the American people.” The poll, which surveyed 1,003 adults across the political spectrum, found specifically that 48% of Republicans agreed with that statement, versus 12% of Democrats .
The same poll found that 43% of Republicans and 12% of Democrats said the president “should have the authority to close news outlets engaged in bad behavior.”In late July, the president told a rally not to believe media coverage of his administration. Defending his trade policies, he told a crowd of veterans in Kansas City: “Stick with us. Don’t believe the crap you see from these people, the fake news.”

The Wall Street Journal declined to participate. James Freeman, the assistant editor of its editorial page, wrote: “The First Amendment does not say that the government cannot criticize the press. Mr. Trump enjoys free speech just as his media adversaries do.”

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.
Among all voters, 65 per cent believe the news media to be an important part of democracy, the poll suggests. An Ipsos poll, also this month, gave similar figures. In addition it found that 23 per cent of Republicans, and about one in eight Americans overall, believed Trump should close down mainstream news outlets like CNN, The Washington Post and The New York Times.(pti With Agency Inputs).

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