Washington: At least 350 news outlets have launched a campaign to counter US President Donald Trump’s attacks against the media and promote a free press. Hundreds of US newspapers, 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, devoted print space on Thursday in an joint effort to defend press freedom in the country, reports said.
The move was initiated by the Boston Globe for a nationwide denouncement of the President’s “dirty war” against the media, using the hashtag #EnemyOfNone. It pledged to write an editorial “on the dangers of the administration’s assault on the press” and asked others to do the same.
The campaign is significant because it moves the conversation about Trump’s attacks out of Washington and New York and into other communities. He derides media reports as “fake news” and attacks journalists as “enemies of the people”. The initial response from 100 news organisations grew to 350 with major national newspapers and local outlets, international publications like the UK newspaper, the Guardian.
‘Journalists are not the enemy’
- The Boston Globe in its editorial, ‘Journalists Are Not The Enemy’, argued that a free press had been a core US principle for over 200 years.
- The New York Times in its article, ‘A Free Press Needs You’, called Trump’s attacks ‘dangerous to the lifeblood of democracy’. It published excerpts from dozens more publications beneath.
- The New York Post, answered the Globe’s call by saying ‘All we can do is to keep reporting. But, will this make a difference?’
- The Philadelphia Inquirer said its city was the birthplace of US democracy, writing, ‘If the press is not free from reprisal, suspicion for unpopular views, neither is the country. Neither are its people.’
News media an important part of democracy?
- 65% Americans regard the media as an important part of democracy, not an ‘enemy’, reports said.
- 26% Respondents, including 51% of Republicans, sided with the President’s ‘enemy’ rhetoric.
- 23% Republicans, and 1 in 8 Americans, believed Trump should close down mainstream dailies.
I won’t be scared into silence after Presidnet slap, says ex-CIA boss
Former CIA director John Brennan fired back at Donald Trump on Thursday with an op-ed published in the New York Times one day after the President revoked the Obama-era official’s security clearance, saying he would not be scared into silence.
The President said that he was evaluating whether to strip clearances from other outspoken former top officials. Trump said he revoked Brennan’s authorisation for making what he called ‘a series of unfounded and outrageous allegations’ about his administration and engaging in ‘frenzied commentary’ that sought to ‘sow division and chaos’.
Trump directly connected his decision to the ongoing federal probe into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election and allegedly collusion by his presidential campaign. Brennan, who led the US Central Intelligence Agency under Democratic President Barack Obama, called Trump’s denials ‘hogwash’. The President cited Brennan’s ‘wild outbursts on the Internet and TV – about this administration’ on Wednesday.
(With inputs from Agencies)