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Trump vs news media: 350 organisations condemn US president in coordinated fightback

'HONESTY WINS!' billionaire retorts in Twitter outburst

Adam Forrest,Jon Sharman
Thursday 16 August 2018 15:29 BST
Trump attacks media again 'Fake News'

Hundreds of US news outlets have synchronised their editorials in an effort to hit back at Donald Trump, following his repeated attacks on the media.

The unprecedented move is a collective response to Mr Trump’s tirades against “fake news” and his description of journalists as “enemies of the people”.

The Boston Globe urged newspapers, large and small, to defend the principle of a free press in their editorials on Thursday.

Almost 350 organisations agreed to participate, according to Marjorie Pritchard, op-ed editor at The Boston Globe.

Some of the editorials began appearing online a day early.

North Carolina newspaper The Fayetteville Observer said it hoped “all the president’s supporters will recognise what he’s doing – manipulating reality to get what he wants”.

The St Louis Post-Dispatch called journalists “the truest of patriots”, while the Chicago Sun-Times said it was confident the majority of US citizens did not share Mr Trump’s views.

“We firmly believe most Americans know that Trump is talking nonsense, whatever they might tell the pollsters,” the Chicago paper’s editorial stated.

“We firmly believe they understand that a free society is impossible without a free press.”

The New York Times, meanwhile, made a plea to support the local press.

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

Not all newspapers support the coordinated action, however.

The Wall Street Journal said it would not be participating and its columnist James Freeman said the idea went against the spirit of independence that editorial boards were claiming to uphold. The Wall Street Journal is owned by Australia media magnate Rupert Murdoch, who also owns 21st Century Fox, which broadcasts Fox News, and News Corp, which publishes The Sun.

Mr Trump posted a series of tweets decrying the papers’ coordinated effort later on Thursday. He said “THE FAKE NEWS MEDIA IS THE OPPOSITION PARTY. It is very bad for our Great Country....BUT WE ARE WINNING!”

“The Boston Globe, which was sold to the the Failing New York Times for 1.3 BILLION DOLLARS (plus 800 million dollars in losses & investment), or 2.1 BILLION DOLLARS, was then sold by the Times for 1 DOLLAR. Now the Globe is in COLLUSION with other papers on free press. PROVE IT!

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

In fact, the Times sold the Globe for $70m (£55m) in 2013 – an enormous loss but a figure far higher than that claimed by Mr Trump.

Earlier this month, the Washington Post‘s fact-checking team reported the president had made 4,229 false or misleading claims since his inauguration.

Trump attacks media again 'Fake News'

Whether Thursday’s editorials will shift the views of any Trump voters remains to be seen.

The latest Ipsos poll found almost half of self-identified Republicans, or 48 per cent, agreed with the president that “the news media is the enemy of the American people”.

The survey also found that 43 per cent of Republicans agreed the president should have the authority “to close news outlets engaged in bad behaviour”.

Earlier this month Mr Trump attacked the “fake, fake disgusting news” at a Pennsylvania rally, stirring the crowd into jeering reporters at the back of the hall.

The outgoing UN human rights commissioner Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein condemned such comments and said Mr Trump’s repeated attacks could “could quite easily lead to harm being inflicted on journalists just going about their work”.

Additional reporting by agencies

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