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Newspapers Nationwide Publish Editorials Denouncing Anti-Press Rhetoric

President Donald Trump frequently has referred to the media as the "enemy of the people." (Paul Williams/The White House)
President Donald Trump frequently has referred to the media as the "enemy of the people." (Paul Williams/The White House)
August 16, 2018

PORT TOWNSEND, Wash. – Newspapers in Washington state and across the country on Thursday are publishing editorials promoting freedom of the press in response to President Donald Trump's persistent attacks on the media.

The Boston Globe coordinated the effort and has been joined by big newspapers such as The New York Times, The Denver Post and the Chicago Sun-Times, as well as regional papers.

Fred Obee is executive director of the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association, which represents about 80 small daily and weekly papers across the state. He says many of the papers in his network will be publishing editorials because the president's rhetoric about the press has affected them.

"It was filtering down to all kinds of local journalism to the point where we were seeing people in our states working for small newspapers getting the same kind of treatment from public officials and other people who were running for election, and we just felt like things had gone too far," he explains.

Obee takes Trump's attacks on the media seriously. He says the president has nearly incited violence against reporters at times.

Trump frequently has called the press the "enemy of the people" and "fake news."

About 350 newspapers had joined the effort as of Wednesday.

Obee says the press has a right to ask the government questions and does so on behalf of the public. He says an attack on the free press hurts people across the political divide.

"That's something that belongs to everybody from every political viewpoint,” he stresses. “It's not just an anti-Trump administration message. I mean, everyone across the whole spectrum of political ideology is being hurt by these attacks on a free press."

The Radio Television Digital News Association also has joined with newspapers, encouraging TV and radio stations to release editorials denouncing attacks on the media.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - WA