the Globe
The Boston Globe and other publications are tired of Trump's "fake news" allegations. (Image via The Milwaukee Independent)

We Need to Stop Calling Journalists the Enemy of the American People

Please don’t believe anything Trump says.
August 20, 2018
5 mins read

Journalists and journalistic platforms are fighting back against President Donald Trump’s depiction of the media as “the enemy of the people,” and the Boston Globe is leading the charge.

Last Thursday, the Globe invited news outlets all across the country to join the newspaper in writing editorials that emphasized the importance of free speech and the news and facts that journalists strive to provide for their readers. Around 350 publications, leaning both left and right, answered the call.

Below is just a sampling of excerpts from some editorials published in response to the Globe’s call to action.

“The true enemies of the people — and democracy — are those who try to suffocate truth by vilifying and demonizing the messenger,” wrote Iowa’s Des Moines Register.

“Like any true friend, we don’t always tell you what you want to hear,” wrote Savannah, Georgia’s Morning News. “Our news team presents the happenings and issues in this community through the lens of objectivity. And like any true friend, we refuse to mislead you. Our reporters and editors strive for fairness.”

And The New York Times supported the Globe wholeheartedly, while also encouraging readers to get informed via local news.

“If you haven’t already, please subscribe to your local papers,” wrote the Times. “Praise them when you think they’ve done a good job and criticize them when you think they could do better. We’re all in this together.”

Many news outlets, however, disagreed with the sentiment that the fight is a collective one.

“We prize our independence, both from government and from other media outlets,” wrote the New York Daily News. “Coordination, especially with Boston, isn’t in our nature.”

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote: “Just as his lack of restraint has often been the president’s self-inflicted wound, the bias of some of the press has hurt journalism, at the very moment when it is most needed to save itself. It is time for a truce.”

“While we agree that labeling journalists the ‘enemy of the American people’ and journalism ‘fake news’ is not only damaging to our industry but destructive to our democracy, a coordinated response from independent —dare we say ‘mainstream’— news organizations feeds a narrative that we’re somehow aligned against this Republican president,” wrote the Baltimore Sun.

Regardless of the publications’ opinions about the Globe’s methods, they must agree that something must be done — they are, after all, still journalists whose livelihoods are being attacked by Trump’s rants about “fake news.”

In its editorial, the Globe published statistics that prove just how many American citizens have been swayed by Trump’s claims that journalism is out to brainwash the U.S. with lies and deceit.

Based on an Ipsos poll released earlier this month, 13 percent of all Americans believe that “President Trump should close down mainstream news outlets, like CNN, the Washington Post, and the New York Times.”

Almost a quarter of Republicans agree with that position, and, similarly, nearly half of Republicans believe that “The news media is the enemy of the American people.”

In true Trump fashion, the president just couldn’t stay quiet after more than 350 editorials were published — he had to tweet out his disgust with the media.

“There is nothing that I would want more for our Country than true FREEDOM OF THE PRESS,” he said. “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!”

I’d be curious to see if, after this initial counter-attack in the war on truth, a redo of that Ipsos poll would yield different results.

Cameron Andersen, New York University

Writer Profile

Cameron Andersen

New York University
Cultural Anthropology and Gender & Sexuality

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