An estimated 350 local newspapers published editorials touting their own value, decrying President Trump’s labeling of certain outlets as “fake news”, and overall proving that they are indeed “the opposition party.”
The Orange County Register went with “The president’s dangerous dubbing of media as America’s enemy.”
What’s different here is that Trump has engaged in a consistent and sustained campaign against the news media, and when the president talks, people listen.
This is not thin-skinned editors whining about mean things the president said, and it’s not a secret media conspiracy to advance a liberal agenda.
This strikes right at the heart of the First Amendment.
Freedom of speech and of the press and the right to peaceably assemble and to petition the government for redress of grievances are the fundamental rights that ensure our government is accountable to the people.
Simply saying that “this is not thin-skinned editors whining” while whining like thin-skinned editors is rich, but hurling the first amendment forth while hoping to use the cudgel of mass media to silence the president’s criticism of their industry is alarming. The president has voiced his opinion – usually in the direction of CNN, The New York Times and The Washington Post after they post questionably-sourced and sometimes untrue stories. The fact that any newspaper, let alone several hundred local outlets, feels they need to shut down a public figure in this way shows a serious prejudice.
The bias is thick in any number of the editorials that hit the newsstand Thursday. Take “Freedom of the press, our democracy, at risk under Trump” in the Ames Tribune:
From his pre-election mocking of a reporter who is disabled and criticism of a Gold Star family, to how he dealt with accusations of sexual misconduct, journalists should be questioning our president.
From his response to violence in Charlottesville, Va., his failure to denounce white supremacists and his anti-immigration stance, journalists should question him.
From discrepancies in his own words and his tirades on Twitter, our president should be held accountable.
From his secret closed-door meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, President Trump should be questioned.
Our president views any objective question into his actions, motives or decisions as being personal and irresponsible.
That’s a laundry list of items they say must be covered, but nowhere in the article will the reader find “because his policies have re-energized the American economy” or “his focus on improving healthcare for veterans” or “for his effort to reskill America’s workforce.” No, they confidently state that in informing the American people, their only responsibility is to be critical of the president. It’s possible to be critical where deserved and appreciative when earned – unless you’re in the opposition party.
- The Star Democrat published “Trump is the source, not subject, of fake news“
- The Seward County Independent printed “Trump’s attacks on media unfair“
- The Star News pushed out “Trump’s attacks on press go too far“
- The Tri-City Herald published “President Trump, we’re not ‘enemies of the people.’ End your war on our free press“
The editorials number into the hundreds, but there are central themes common to all of them:
- They aren’t fake news, because they say so
- They aren’t the enemy of the people, because they say so
- Trump shouldn’t criticize them when they screw up, because they say so
This entire escapade was organized by The Boston Globe who is, at least editorially, admittedly biased. Former editorial page editor Renee Loth told the Boston University alumni magazine that “the Globe has a long tradition of being a progressive institution, and especially on social issues.”
The president isn’t championing a bill to censor articles critical of his administration and he hasn’t signed an executive order to jail reporters who print “fake news.” Those would be serious infringements of The First Amendment and we would immediately criticize him for it. Instead, President Trump is voicing his opinion as he has the right to do. Any damage done to the credibility of the mass media has been of their own doing. This centrally-organized, child-like initiative to silence his criticism did them no favors.
The press in America is free to criticize the president. In fact, they should both criticize and praise any and all members of government when their actions warrant. But to coordinate an anti-Trump tirade across hundreds of local newspapers smells more like the work of the opposition.
THE FAKE NEWS MEDIA IS THE OPPOSITION PARTY. It is very bad for our Great Country….BUT WE ARE WINNING!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 16, 2018