President Donald Trump denounced The Boston Globe  newspaper after it coordinated a nationwide effort on the part of at least 350 newspapers to protest what it terms are Trump’s “assaults on the free press.” Trump tweeted from the White House on Thursday morning: “The Boston Globe, which was sold to the the Failing New York Times for 1.3 BILLION DOLLARS (plus 800 million dollars in losses & investment), or 2.1 BILLION DOLLARS, was then sold by the Times for 1 DOLLAR. Now the Globe is in COLLUSION with other papers on free press. PROVE IT!”

At a Cabinet meeting today, President Trump told journalists in the room, “If you’d like, you can stay. If you’d like, you can leave … freedom of the press.” The president had already dubbed the  “fake news media” to be the opposition party in America. 

Spearheaded by The Boston Globe, hundreds of newspapers sought to follow the Boston newspaper’s lead to address what it called Trump’s “assault on the press.” In a memo to editorial boards last week, Boston Globe deputy managing editor Marjorie Pritchard wrote, “We propose to publish an editorial on August 16 on the dangers of the administration’s assault on the press and ask others to commit to publishing their own editorials on the same date.” She added in a subsequent interview with The New York Times, “We’re being portrayed as a domestic enemy rather than a loyal fellow countryman whose profession is to hold the powerful accountable,” and said, “This whole project is not anti-Trump. It’s really pro-press.”

Early on Thursday morning, Trump tweeted his disagreement with the media. “THE FAKE NEWS MEDIA IS THE OPPOSITION PARTY. It is very bad for our Great Country....BUT WE ARE WINNING!” Trump tweeted defiantly. About 15 minutes later, Trump addressed the Boston Globe specifically and what he called the paper’s “collusion with other papers…”

Trump also tweeted, “There is nothing that I would want more for our Country than true FREEDOM OF THE PRESS. The fact is that the Press is FREE to write and say anything it wants, but much of what it says is FAKE NEWS, pushing a political agenda or just plain trying to hurt people. HONESTY WINS!”

The prominent San Francisco Chronicle, however, did not participate in the coordinated newspaper editorial effort. In a piece that predicted a reaction by Trump, editorial-page editor John Diaz wrote that his paper would not be participating in the “coordinated editorial campaign.” Diaz wrote, “It plays into Trump’s narrative that the media are aligned against him. I can just anticipate his Thursday morning tweets accusing the ‘FAKE NEWS MEDIA’ of ‘COLLUSION!’ and ‘BIAS!’ He surely 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.”

For its part, rather than taking the president to task, the Washington Times editorial page criticized fellow members of the media for cowardliness: “The rallying cry for a united editorial-page assault on President Trump is ‘courage in numbers.’ The press has a responsibility to identify every president’s misdeeds, and pay no attention to slings, arrows, and insults aimed its way. Setting out to take down a president by any means necessary is not the role of a responsible press. When newspapers return to their fundamental role, the public reputation of the press will recover. The sooner the better.”

Also refraining from the coordinated effort was the Los Angeles Times. Its editorial page stated: "The Los Angeles Times editorial board does not speak for the New York Times or for the Boston Globe or the Chicago Tribune or the Denver Post. We share certain opinions with those newspapers; we disagree on other things. Even when we do agree with another editorial page — on the death penalty or climate change or war in Afghanistan, say — we reach our own decisions and positions after careful consultation and deliberation among ourselves, and then we write our own editorials. We would not want to leave the impression that we take our lead from others, or that we engage in groupthink."




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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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