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The American Independent

More than 130 newspapers unite against Trump's war on the free press

Trump is treating journalists like a dictator would — but the press is uniting against his attacks to stand up for democracy and the First Amendment.

By Eric Boehlert - August 13, 2018
Donald Trump

Newspapers around the country are sending Trump a clear message this week: his war on the media must end.

So far, well over 100 newspapers have agreed to publish editorials on Thursday condemning Trump’s dangerous crusade against the free press. The latest numbers as of Monday morning are about 135 and counting, according to CNN’s Brian Stelter.

The push was organized by the Boston Globe and is supported by the American Society of News Editors. The Globe’s editorial staff approached other news outlets to ask them to write editorials on this subject.

Each paper’s editorial will be different, but all will address the same theme: the White House’s dangerous attacks on the First Amendment.

“Publications, whatever their politics, could make a powerful statement by standing together in the common defense of their profession and the vital role it plays in government for and by the people,” the Boston Globe’s appeal to other editorial boards read.

The collective media pushback, one of the first of its kind since Trump took office, comes as the United Nations’ high commissioner of human rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, warns that Trump’s unhinged, anti-press rhetoric could “easily” lead to journalists being physically attacked.

He stressed that Trump’s outbursts are “getting very close to incitement to violence,” which might cause journalists to engage in “self-censorship” to protect themselves.

Targeting the free press and demonizing reporters is a habit of authoritarian leaders who are anxious to undermine journalism’s crucial oversight role in open societies.

Trump’s unprecedented attacks on journalism as an institution seem to have escalated in recent months as bad news has piled up for his administration, particularly involving the Russia investigation. He’s taken to calling the press “the enemy of the people,” a phrase that echoes Joseph Stalin’s attacks on his enemies.

And it’s not just Trump; White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders recently refused to back down from Trump’s hateful claims that journalists are the “enemy of the people.”

That came after a mob of Trump supporters at a Tampa rally came dangerously close to attacking reporters who were there covering the event.

As the pressure on Trump grows, he is also telling even more lies in public than ever before during his time in office.

But now, journalists are uniting to tell the truth about his dangerous behavior.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation. 

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