350 newspapers unite, tell Trump journalists are not the enemy

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Phillip Minias, 46, owner of Snax Express, reads the Boston Globe, August 15, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. – Branded “enemy of the people” by us President Donald Trump, the US news media is responding with a campaign aimed at countering the president’s narrative and highlighting the importance of a free press. More than 200 news organizations are to participate in a coordinated campaign on August 16, 2018, with editorials about the importance of an independent media and a social media hashtag #EnemyOfNone. The move comes in response to a call by the Boston Globe amid a growing sense of unease that Trump’s rhetoric is harmful to a free press and may even incite violence against journalists. (Photo by Joseph PREZIOSO / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON — About 350 newspapers all have one thing in common on Thursday: A statement supporting the free press and decrying President Trump’s attacks against the media.

From The Martha’s Vineyard Times to the Dallas Morning News… from the Yankton County Observer in South Dakota to the Bangor Daily News in Maine… the papers are all running editorials as part of an effort first proposed by the Boston Globe earlier this month.

“This whole project is not anti-Trump. It’s really pro-press,” The Globe’s editorial says.

Each paper wrote its own editorial. The campaign is significant because it moves the conversation about Trump’s attacks out of Washington and New York and into communities across the country.

Some of the participants are emphasizing the local nature of most news coverage, and saying Trump’s extreme rhetoric — labeling journalists “enemies of the people,” for instance — hurts everyone, not just the political reporters who enrage him the most.

In Belen, New Mexico, the Valencia County News-Bulletin wrote that “We are not the enemy; We are the people.”

In Clinton, Arkansas, the Van Buren County Democrat said Trump’s “enemy” talk is disappointing: “Words, after all, matter — a point we prove every week. And those words, from that pulpit, are unacceptable and utterly, utterly, wrong.”

In Athens, Ohio, the Athens News pointed out that local officials inspired by Trump are increasingly going “on the attack.”

And the editorial in Benson, Minnesota’s Swift County Monitor News was titled “Attacks On Journalists Will Lead To Violence.”

A handful of radio and TV stations are also airing editorials on Thursday. But the effort mostly involves newspapers with editorial pages.

At most papers, especially big dailies, the editorial page is a separate enterprise from the newsroom. Editorials typically reflect the opinion of the publisher, not necessarily the newsroom.

But the campaign has garnered criticism from many Trump supporters, and from some media critics, because of the appearance of a coordinated attack.

“It plays into Trump’s narrative that the media are aligned against him,” San Francisco Chronicle editorial page editor John Diaz wrote.

Diaz predicted that Trump will call it “collusion” and “will attempt to cite this day of editorials to discredit critical and factual news stories in the future, even though no one involved in those pieces had anything to do with this campaign.”

On Fox News, some of Trump’s boosters have already tried to do this.

“We’re just defending the First Amendment and that shouldn’t be a controversial proposition,” Pritchard said in response to the criticism about the campaign. “This is about the media’s role as a watchdog.”

Journalists tend to be a snarky bunch, and some dismissed the chance of the editorials having much if any impact.

John Podhoretz of Commentary magazine tweeted on Thursday morning, “Can you imagine anything more boring than reading 350 coordinated editorials? Signed, a former editorial page editor.”

Perhaps. Or perhaps there is strength in numbers.

Some of the local editorials tried to differentiate between opinion hosts on TV and just-the-facts reporters in the field.

The Duluth News Tribune in Duluth, Minnesota said its editorial doubled as a “call to stop lumping together as ‘the media’ both legitimate news-gatherers and those whose practice of propaganda is meant to mislead and misinform for self-serving purposes.”

As a practical matter, Thursday’s editorials may be mostly preaching to the choir, reinforcing the positive feelings of already-loyal readers.

New polling by Quinnipiac shows that most Americans, 65%, regard the news media as an important part of democracy, not an “enemy.” But 26% of respondents, including 51% of Republicans, sided with Trump’s “enemy” rhetoric.

Press freedom groups have been sounding alarms about the threats posed by this dehumanizing language.

But some of Trump’s supporters have cheered him on, arguing that the press is abusively biased against his presidency.

The New York Times has a list of the participating papers and excerpts from some of the editorials.

Criticizing the news media “is entirely right,” The Times said in its own editorial. 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.”

In San Diego, the Union-Tribune paired its editorial with a full-page spread titled “How We Restore Faith in Journalism.”

“Distrust is not easy to dismantle,” the editorial said. “But journalists at The San Diego Union-Tribune and nationwide will keep advocating for a free and fair press. With this president. And the next. And the next. And the next. And all who follow.”

National outlets like The Atlantic also joined in the effort.

“The press is neither the enemy of the people nor its ally, but rather its possession,” The Atlantic wrote in a piece titled “The Freedom of the Press is Yours.”

In the days leading up to Thursday’s coordinated effort, Pritchard said it was key that each paper wrote its own message.

“The impact of Trump’s assault on journalism looks different in Boise than it does in Boston,” she wrote in the pitch to other papers. “Our words will differ. But at least we can agree that such attacks are alarming.”


About 350 newspapers in the United States will have editorials Thursday decrying President Donald Trump’s description of the media as the “enemy of the people.”

Here are some of the newspapers blasting Trump’s anti-press rhetoric.

Ames Tribune
Freedom of the press, our democracy, at risk under Trump

Athens News
In attacking journalists, Trump damages all Americans

The Altamont Enterprise
Journalism needs a champion — you

The Atlantic City Weekly
Joining in solidarity with the Boston Globe, others

Athol Daily news
Trump’s media attacks are dangerous

Austin American-Statesman
Journalists are watchdog neighbors, not enemy of the people

The Baltimore Sun
News media won’t back down under pressure from president

Bangor Daily News
The media is the enemy only if you don’t want it to know what your government is doing

The Berkshire Eagle
Our Opinion: Trump’s assaults on press are assaults on democracy

The Bismark Tribune
We aren’t the ‘enemy’ when covering news

The Boston Globe
Journalists are not the enemy

Boise Weekly
No, we’re not your enemy. Never have been. Never will be

Bozeman Daily Chronicle
Journalists aren’t the enemy; we are you

Cape Cod Chronicle
Tarring one journalist or media outlet as an “enemy of the people” tars us all, because we are all trying to do the same thing: report the facts.

The Chicago Sun-Times
This newspaper is the ‘enemy’ of all that hurts ‘the people’

The Chicago Tribune
Mr. President: We aren’t enemies of the people. We’re a check on government

The Chronicle-Express
We are not the enemy of the people

The Commons
Make no mistake: This attack on our free press — your free press — is deliberate and calculated

The Chagrin Valley Times
Local news is real

The Chronicle
The media are not the enemy

The Columbian-Progress
The ultimate friend of the people

The Daily Free Press
Journalists are not the ‘enemy of the people,’ they are the people

Dallas Morning News
We the people hold our elected officials accountable

Daily Herald 
In midst of assaults, we must defend principles of First Amendment

Daily Hampshire Gazette
Journalists performing public service are not the enemy

Deadline Detroit 
We stand with our US colleagues against ‘Fake News’ claims

The Denver Post
We are simply standing up for what we believe in as journalists

Des Moines Register
Media are not the enemy of the people; a free press is critical to democracy

Duluth News Tribune
Free press — our protection from tyranny

The Delaware County Daily Times
President Trump, we are not the enemy of the people

The Daily Item
This just in: We are not the enemy

El Diario
Defendemos la libertad de prensa

The Eau Claire Leader-Telegram
Phrases damaging for free press

The Elizabethtown Advocate
We need Freedom of the Press, Not Freedom in Name Only

The Ellwood City Ledger
Ledger joins nationwide call to action to defend attacks on journalists as ‘enemy of the American people’

Examiner Media
Newsprint Tariffs and Fake News Mantra a Threat to Democracy

Falls City Journal
‘We are not the enemy, we are your peers, friends, and neighbors.’

Fayetteville Observer 
Our View: ‘Fake news’ and all the president’s taunts

The Ferndale Enterprise
Editorial: Way ahead of the curve

The Forward
Why an independent press matters to American Jews

Fresno Bee
The Fresno Bee is not the enemy. We are Americans, and part of the Valley, like you

The Freeman Courier
‘Enemy of the people’ rhetoric damaging

The Grand Forks Herald
This is not fake news

Hartford Courant
Editorial: The President Wants You To Think We’re The Enemy. Here’s What We Really Do

Hillsboro Free Press
Discrediting media a dangerous plan

Hays Free Press
We are the people

Hillsboro Tribune
The news isn’t ‘fake’ just because you see things differently

Idyllwild Town Crier
Out Loud: Fake news, American institutions, and the presidency

Journal Star
President Trump’s attacks on the press must stop

The Kansas City Star
President Trump, we’re not ‘enemies of the people.’ End your war on our free press

The Lakeville Journal
Perspective on truth, lies, respect and hate

Manchester Journal
Press freedom is a Vermont value

McClatchy 
President Trump, we’re not ‘enemies of the people.’ End your war on our free press

Miami Herald
Trump, we’re not ‘enemies of the people.’ End your war on our free press

Mercury News 
Editorial: President Trump, we are not the nation’s enemy

The New York Times
A Free Press Needs You

New York Post
Hate the press all you want — we’ll keep reporting

News and Tribune
We are defined by purpose, not the president

News Herald 
The First Amendment is first in line for a reason

Omaha World-Herald 
Omaha World-Herald remains committed to our community and state

Orlando Sentinel and South Florida Sun Sentinel
President Trump, the press isn’t the ‘enemy’ — it’s America’s watchdog

The Orange County Register
The president’s dangerous dubbing of media as America’s enemy

Panama City News Herald
We are your defense

The Post-Standard 
Journalists are not the ‘enemy of the people’

The Plymouth Review
This dirty war against the press must end

The Providence Journal
Trump attacks the messenger

The Philadelphia Inquirer
Stop the war on a free press

Queens Courier and the Ridgewood Times
Stop attacking the press! Remember the First Amendment of our Constitution

The Register-Mail 
We believe in power of good journalism

The Ripon Commonwealth Press
One thing worse than the ‘enemies of the American people’ …

Real Change News
There has never been a more critical time to engage in free speech

The San Diego Union-Tribune
How we restore faith in journalism

The Sag Harbor Express
We Are the People

The Seward County Independent 
Trump’s attacks on media unfair

Sentinel of Gloucester County
Call for action to protect the freedom of the press

The Sun Chronicle
Sun Chronicle joins others in emphasizing importance of free press

Swift County Monitor-News
Attacks on journalists will lead to violence

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Stand in defense of the truth. Don’t let Trump label journalists as “the enemy”

The Star Democrat
Trump is the source, not subject, of fake news

Sun Sentinel
President Trump, the press isn’t the ‘enemy’ — it’s America’s watchdog

Swift County Monitor-News
Attacks on journalists will lead to violence

The Slo Tribune
We’re not your enemy. We’re journalists who cover the real news of SLO County

Society of Professional Journalists
The press isn’t “fake

The Star News
Trump’s attacks on press go too far

The Star Democrat
Your local newspaper is your neighbor

The Swellesley Report
What’s important about this isn’t so much what we do, it’s that we can do it

Tampa Bay Times
Journalists are friends of democracy, not the enemy

The Tribune
We’re not your enemy. We’re journalists who cover the real news of SLO County

Toledo Blade
No more enemies

The Topeka Capital-Journal
Press isn’t ‘enemy of the people’

Tri-City Herald 
President Trump, we’re not ‘enemies of the people.’ End your war on our free press

Valencia County News Bulletin
We are not the enemy; We are the people

Van Buren County Democrat
Friends like these

Whitman-Hanson Express
We stand for press freedom

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