America's editorial sections have joined together to reject the president's oft-repeated scapegoating of the media as "the “enemy of the people.”
August 16, 2018

No matter what paper you pick up or what channel you turn to today, you're likely to see an editorial about the importance of a free press.

It started with a suggestion from the Boston Globe, and support grew for the initiative to denounce Trump's attacks on the free press as the "enemy of the people" and defend their value in our way of life.. Via Poynter:

The show of support mushroomed nationwide on Wednesday. The number of papers committing to join the initiative rose from 200 to about 350, says Marjorie Pritchard, The Boston Globe’s deputy editorial editor. Pritchard had proposed that America's editorial sections join together, each in their own words to reject the president's oft-repeated scapegoating of the media as "the “enemy of the people.”

In its editorial, the Providence (Rhode Island) Journal says the media, in a disorienting and economically fraught transition to digital platforms, are not blameless. At times, news outlets have focused on the splashy, distracting or ephemeral for “clicks.”

But the newspaper adds that occasional journalistic failings don't excuse irresponsible disrespect for the vital role of journalists as gatekeepers. Demonizing the public's representatives can lead to violence and a destruction of America’s freedoms.

"Presidents, whether or not they are pleased with news reports, should acknowledge and respect the idea that journalists must be free from government control,” the Journal wrote. “They should not be punished for reporting that the government does not condone."

I worked in newspapers for 20 years, and God knows, they're flawed institutions. (Hardly a day goes by when I don't roll my eyes at the New York Times.) But I hope we all know and fervently uphold their ultimate value in America. From weekly neighborhood papers to the giant behemoths like the Times and the Washington Post, the free press is the lifeblood of our democracy.

As Thomas Jefferson said, "The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.

Support your local papers. Don't just read them, buy a subscription. Support the press, we need it now more than ever.

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