Editorial effort in support of the free press sparks praise and pushback
On Thursday morning, the editorial pages of more than 350 newspapers around the country were filled with arguments in support of a free and independent press in response to a call from The Boston Globe’s editorial board to confront President Trump’s recent attacks on the media.
The nationwide push generated widespread reaction, from the president himself to professional sports figures.
Thursday afternoon, the US Senate passed a resolution from Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer expressing support for the media and stating that the press is “not the enemy of the people.”
Former secretary of state John Kerry cited his experience traveling to areas of the world where media is restricted in offering his support.
Members of Massachusetts’ all-Democrat congressional delegation were quick to weigh in:
So proud of & inspired by @BostonGlobe today as they lead 300+ editorial boards in sending a clear message: the press is not the enemy of the people, it’s an indispensable part of our democracy. Today would be a great day to support the #FreePress & subscribe to your local paper. https://t.co/hhy2RAaG6L— Ed Markey (@SenMarkey) August 16, 2018
Journalists face tremendous danger around the world. The United States of America should not be one of those places – especially not incited by our own president. Proud to stand with @BostonGlobe, @NYTimes and others in defense of a #FreePress. https://t.co/lrgQRWs8hF— Katherine Clark (@RepKClark) August 16, 2018
Impressive work by @BostonGlobe who is leading over 300 editorial boards calling for “an end to President Trump’s sustained assault on the #FreePress.” Honest journalism is paramount to our democracy, and I thank you for your work. https://t.co/0ScT4R8Nh3— Seth Moulton (@sethmoulton) August 16, 2018
Local political figures also expressed support for the free press:
Celtics legend Bill Russell, who has been a frequent critic of President Trump, said he makes an effort to buy the local paper wherever he happens to be.
Wherever I am I always grab a local paper, @Starbucks we need to support #FreePress The Founders protected journalism in the 1st Amendment because a free press is an essential guard against tyranny. @GlobeOpinion @MSNBC @CNN @seattletimes @washingtonpost @nytimes https://t.co/XrXPT3r8ui— TheBillRussell (@RealBillRussell) August 16, 2018
The Globe also saw pushback from the effort, in particular from Trump, who ridiculed the terms of The New York Times’s sale of the Globe to John Henry by erroneously saying the Globe was sold for $1.
One newspaper that did not participate in the Globe’s call for an editorial response was the Capital Gazette in Maryland, the site of a recent mass shooting that left five employees of the small newsroom dead.
The paper explained its decision in an editorial published Thursday.
“We’re just not coordinating with other news organizations because the president’s opinion, frankly, is just not that important to us,” the editorial board said while noting it had expressed concerns about Trump’s rhetoric in the wake of the deadly shooting.
“We are far more concerned about what this community thinks of us. Residents of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County have made perfectly clear through words and actions that they understand our role in the community — and respect it even when they don’t like it.”