Opinion

Editorial: We (are not the enemy of) the people

With his condemnation of “fake” news and penchant for labeling journalists as “dangerous and sick,” President Trump is at war with the media.

We today join the Boston Globe and newspapers around the country in condemning those attacks and pointing out the dangers inherent in them.

Standing high atop his social media soapbox, Trump has defined himself by firing one Twitter salvo after another at any and all targets crossing his path and drawing his ire. Chief among those targets is the media.

Today, we request that his war on the media end.

The American public has always relied on a free press to present solid, well-researched facts documenting news events and offering differing perspectives and opinions on American history as its unfolds, hour by hour, day by day.

The pursuit of the truth, the ability to ask incisive questions while understanding the detailed workings of government and the importance of history makes a journalist someone skilled enough to pursue a story even in the face of criticism, threats or violence.

In calling on journalists to denounce Trump’s attacks on them, the New England Newspaper & Press Association noted, “A free and independent press is one of the most sacred principles enshrined in the Constitution.”

Those words stand in jarring contrast to the president’s portrayal of the media as an enemy of the people.

American journalists sometimes fall short in their efforts to honor those words but most strive to do a stellar job keeping readers, viewers, and listeners informed about the world around them. The press also has a history of taking on American bullies.

Edward R. Murrow, the nation’s renowned mid-20th century journalist, challenged the late Senator Joseph McCarthy’s use of his U.S. Senate seat to pursue any and all people “soft on Communism” with his CBS program “See It Now.” (Gelb, “City Room,” 2003).

Trump deserves and is overdue for a similar challenge to his bullying tactics aimed at the media. This publication joins others in inviting the president to stride into the arena of public discourse and face carefully reported facts concerning his presidency.

Trump does the media and the nation — and the presidency — a disservice when he paints with a broad brush, portraying the press as elite and out of touch.

The media — the people who have answered a calling to report the good, the bad, and the ugly that happen in our world — are not the enemy. We’re not some anonymous, amorphous entity. We’re friends, neighbors, husbands, wives, daughters and sons. We are the people committed to speaking truth to power and keeping you informed, educated, and entertained.

Let’s end the insults now, Mr. President. Civil discourse is so much more befitting your office.

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