US media fight back against Trump attacks | News | DW | 16.08.2018
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US media fight back against Trump attacks

US newspapers have launched a concerted campaign to counter President Donald Trump's attacks on the press dubbed #EnemyOfNone. Over 350 media outlets are carrying editorials stressing the importance of free journalism.

A wide array of US newspapers on Thursday hit back at President Donald Trump's often vitriolic attacks on the news media, with editorials accusing the US leader of endangering democracy by labelling any reports criticizing his actions as "fake news."

The Boston Globe, which led calls for the media campaign, wrote that "today in the United States we have a president who has created a mantra that members of the media who do not blatantly support the policies of the current US administration are the 'enemy of the people'."

"This is one of the many lies that have been thrown out by this president, much like an old-time charlatan threw out 'magic' dust or water on a hopeful crowd," its editorial, entitled "Journalists are not the Enemy," said.

The terms "fake news" and "enemy of the people" have often been used by Trump in connection any critical news reports. The president even admitted in a tweet in May 2018 that he considered any negative news regarding his person or administration "fake news."

In another Twitter tirade on Thursday, he denounced the "fake news" media as the "opposition party."

Encouragement to strongmen

The Globe also argued that Trump's treatment of the press was encouraging authoritarian leaders such as Russia's Vladimir Putin and Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan to suppress free journalism.

"Replacing a free media with a state-run media has always been a first order of business for any corrupt regime taking over a country," the Globe wrote.

The New York Times, one of the newspapers most vilified by Trump, pointed out the dangers of blanket criticism of the press both to democracy and to journalists themselves.

"[I]nsisting that truths you don't like are 'fake news' is dangerous to the lifeblood of democracy. And calling journalists the 'enemy of the people' is dangerous, period," the Times wrote. 

The outgoing UN high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, said in an interview with the Guardian newspaper this month that Trump's classing of journalists as enemies was "getting very close to incitement to violence."

Read more: UN human rights chief paints bleak picture of violations around the globe

tj/kms (AFP, dpa)

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