A number of media outlets in South Florida — including the Miami Herald, Sun Sentinel and Palm Beach Post — published editorials Thursday decrying President Donald Trump’s treatment of newspapers, news gathering and journalists themselves.
The outlets joined more than 300 others nationwide who published pieces along the same lines, including the Society of Professional Journalists. The editorial board of the Boston Globe — a group that produces unsigned commentaries that are viewed as “the voice of the paper” — suggested the project.
Below are some excerpts from those editorials:
[…] In our business, we know how much words matter. We know, too, that Trump’s references to us as the “enemy of the American People” are no less dangerous because they happen to be strategic. That is what Nazis called Jews. It’s how Joseph Stalin’s critics were marked for execution.
Every reporter who has ever covered a Trump rally knows the scratch of a threat that’s conveyed during that ritual moment when he aims the attention of the crowd to reporters, many of whom no longer stand in the press pen in the back for that reason.
And as real as the threat of physical violence is, especially after the murder of our colleagues in Annapolis, Maryland, Trump’s aggressive posture toward the First Amendment worries us even more.
That’s why nearly all of McClatchy’s 30 daily newspapers, which almost never speak with one voice, are doing so now. That’s why we’re joining with fellow journalists across the country in calling for an end to the president’s war of words against our free press. […]
South Florida Sun Sentinel
President Donald Trump uses this nation’s highest office to attack one of our country’s core principles, and it has to stop.
A free press, empowered by the First Amendment, serves as a watchdog over every level of American government, from City Hall to the White House.
By labeling news reports he disagrees with as “fake news,” the president is trying to discredit the journalists this country relies on to keep watch and inform.
[…] The president attempting to damage the credibility of the press by calling journalists the enemy also risks putting them in danger.
The country is still reeling from a gunman killing five people at the Capital Gazette in Maryland. Trump continuing to call the press the “enemy” could incite more violence against journalists.
The president’s rhetoric also increases the danger to journalists, and journalism, worldwide. Dictators are emboldened by our president’s talk about the press being the enemy of the people. […]
Palm Beach Post
We aren’t the enemy.
It doesn’t matter how many times the president of the United States calls the news media “the enemy of the American people,” or attaches the word “fake” to “stories,” “media” or “polls.”
All the repetitions in the world can’t make the slander true — though, in some minds, the repetition can make the slander believed.
We cringe when we see colleagues berated and accosted at political rallies. Just for being present. We despair at cries of “fake news” from the powerful, and would-be powerful. Just for telling the truth. And we mourn when journalists are gunned down in their own newsroom. Just for doing their jobs.
[…] A democracy can remain healthy only when citizens are well-informed and can make decisions based on facts. Why else would the Founding Fathers, with the First Amendment, make sure to protect this one profession in the Constitution? It’s no accident that when authoritarians come to power, they quickly start harassing or shutting down independent media. As in George Orwell’s “1984,” “facts” are what the state says they are. Thus, on state TV in China or Russia, the leader is always strong, the government is always wise, the suppression of so-called unruly elements is always necessary. […]