Hundreds of newspapers across the country teamed up to send a message to Donald Trump today: Journalists are not the enemy of the people.
The papers, from the small-town Bozeman Daily Chronicle to the Boston Globe, which coordinated the effort, denounced Trump for his unrelenting attacks on the media as “fake news,” the “enemy of the people” and “very dangerous and sick.” In its editorial, the Globe wrote:
“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 U.S. 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.”
In Idaho, a state that saw 59 percent of voters cast their 2016 presidential ballot for Trump, Boise Weekly said that Trump’s vitriol for the media “is more than ugly. It’s a reckless attempt to corrode a key pillar of democracy.” In North Dakota, where Trump won 64 percent of the vote, The Bismarck Tribune addressed its readers: “We are here to serve you, not manipulate you.”
At least one major newspaper decided not to participate in the show of force. In an editorial explaining why, the Los Angeles Times said that Trump is likely to use the coordinated criticism to fan the flames of discontent.
The president himself already treats the media as a cabal — “enemies of the people,” he has called us, suggesting over and over that we’re in cahoots to do damage to the country. The idea of joining together to protest him seems almost to encourage that kind of conspiracy thinking by the president and his loyalists. Why give them ammunition to scream about “collusion”?
They may have been on to something.