US Senate unanimously affirms the press is 'not the enemy'

Saul Bowman
August 17, 2018

A co-ordinated newspaper rebuttal to U.S. President Donald Trump's attacks on the media is unlikely to change people's minds, according to a veteran journalist.

The vote comes after more than 350 US newspapers on Thursday launched a coordinated defense of press freedom and a rebuke of President Donald Trump for denouncing some media organizations as enemies of the American people.

However, he said much of what the media covers is fake news aimed at pushing a political agenda and slandering his administration.

A customer walks past the front page of the Boston Globe newspaper referencing their editorial defense of press freedom and a rebuke of President Donald Trump for denouncing some media organizations as enemies of the American people, part of a nationwide editorial effort coordinated by the Boston Globe, at a newsstand in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S., August 16, 2018.

The resolution text was released the same day 350 newspapers ran editorials created to push back on Trump's criticisms of the media.

Trump later returned to his attack message on all news media, issuing atweet blasting the Globe for "collusion with other papers on free press" and repeating his recurring jibe at the "failing New York Times".

"Journalistic outlets have had threats throughout time but it's the president's rhetoric that gives us the most concern", the spokesperson said.

A Boston Police cruiser sat outside the Globe's downtown headquarters, and the FBI is investigating alleged threats called into the newspaper.

The Fayetteville Observer said it hopes Trump will stop making such accusations, "but we're not holding our breath".


The effort comes amid Trump's persistent claims that mainstream media outlets that publish articles critical of him are churning out "fake news".

The Senate resolution "affirms that the press is not the enemy of the people".

The New York Times, a frequent target of Trump's criticism, ran a seven-paragraph editorial under a giant headline with all capital letters that read "A FREE PRESS NEEDS YOU". Some anxious that it played into the hands of Trump and his supporters who think the media is out to get him.

Editorial boards at the Portland (Maine) Press-Herald and the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and many places in between weighed in to support the effort.

The group said that while US press freedom is enshrined in the First Amendment of the US Constitution, it "has been under increasing attack over the past few years, and the first year of President Donald J Trump's presidency has fostered further decline in journalists' right to report".

"This relentless assault on the free press has unsafe consequences", the Globe wrote in its editorial. "Mr. Trump enjoys free speech just as his media adversaries do", the column said. "He could honor her work by expressing his belief in the importance of journalism to our country - even when he feels unfairly treated".

"Trump's references to us as the "enemy of the American People" are no less unsafe because they happen to be strategic", the Kansas City Star wrote.

The Baltimore Sun: Employing a measured tone, the newspaper's editorial board revealed they had "mixed emotions" about The Boston Globe's call.

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