August 13, 2018; The Guardian
The Boston Globe has issued a call for opinion writers of news organizations to publish independent editorials reinforcing the importance of a free press and protesting President Donald Trump’s constant attacks on journalists, a group that he has repeatedly labeled “enemies of the people.” These incidents have sometimes reached a fevered pitch at the president’s rallies, where the crowd is encouraged to display their own negative feelings against the press corps. For those who do not attend Trump rallies, a terrifying example of such a scene can be seen in the documentary series, The Fourth Estate.
“This dirty war on the free press must end,” said the Boston Globe editorial board in its appeal for a united front, “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 impact of Trump’s assault on journalism looks different in Boise than it does in Boston,” writes Marjorie Pritchard, Boston Globe’s deputy editorial page editor. “Our words will differ. But at least we can agree that such attacks are alarming.”
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“The response has been overwhelming,” Pritchard said. “We have some big newspapers, but the majority are from smaller markets, all enthusiastic about standing up to Trump’s assault on journalism.”
Outgoing UN human rights commissioner Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein deems Trump’s anti-journalism rhetoric as “very close to incitement to violence.”
We began to see a campaign against the media…that could have potentially, and still can, set in motion a chain of events which could quite easily lead to harm being inflicted on journalists just going about their work and potentially some self-censorship.
More than 100 news organizations are reported to be signed on to the effort, which calls for editorials to be run this Thursday, August 16th. The American Society of News Editors has endorsed the action.—Ruth McCambridge