More than 300 news outlets, including the New York Times and the Guardian, have today run a co-ordinated series of editorials condemning US President Donald Trump’s attacks on the media.
Trump has repeatedly described the media as “fake news” and “the enemy of the American people” in public addresses and tweets.
Today’s editorial campaign was started by the Boston Globe, who called on newsrooms across the US to join it in defending against Trump’s attacks – which it described as as “fundamental threat” – “in their own words”.
“This relentless assault on the free press has dangerous consequences,” the Globe wrote in a leader column.
“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 paper, which was immortalised in the Oscar-winning film Spotlight, has described Trump’s attacks as a “dirty war against the free press”.
Trump has ramped up his rhetoric against the press in recent months. He first called the New York Times and broadcasters NBC News, CNN, ABC and CBS the “enemy of the American people”in a tweet in February last year.
Other newspapers taking part in the campaign include the New York Post, Chicago Sun Times, Miami Herald, Philadelphia Inquirer and a number of other smaller, regional papers.
The New York Times published an opinion piece calling on readers to “please subscribe to your local papers.” It added: “Praise them when you think they’ve done a good job and criticise them when you think they could do better. We’re all in this together.”
The Wall Street Journal did not take part, but columnist James Freeman had earlier written that the president has the right to freedom of speech as much as the media does, according to the BBC.
The New York Post said: “The Boston Globe has asked for a coordinated response today from newspapers across the country, to oppose President Trump’s labeling journalists as an ‘enemy of the people’.
“Who are we to disagree? We support a free and vibrant press, a nation where the powerful are held to account by the Fourth Estate. Journalists are not the enemy of the people; we’re advocating for the people. We stand with our colleagues.”
But, it added: “Will this make a difference? Not one whit.”
The Guardian, which also publishes in the US, said: “Donald Trump is not the first US president to attack the press or to feel unfairly treated by it.
“But he is the first who appears to have calculated and consistent policy of undermining, delegitimising and even endangering the press’s work.
“The Guardian stands with the US in its efforts to maintain the objectivity and the moral boundaries that this president – like so many others in much more dangerous parts of the world – is doing so much to destroy.”
Earlier this month White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders refused to say the press was not the enemy of the people when repeatedly asked to do so by a reporter at a press conference.
She said: “As far as I know, I’m the first press secretary in the United States that has required secret service protection…
“The media continues to ratchet up the verbal assault against the President and everyone in this administration.
“Certainly we have a role to play, but the media has a role to play for the discourse in this country as well.”