More than 300 newspapers responded to the call made by The Boston Globe to denounce US President Donald Trump’s “dirty war” against the media.
Describing journalists as “the enemy of the people,” Trump’s attacks on the media are no different from the language used by dictators and authoritarian leaders around the world.
Hundreds of newspapers and sites – national and regional – together with UK publication The Guardian, published editorials or opinions today, following the campaign launched by The Boston Glob which said “we propose to publish an editorial on August 16 on the dangers of the administration’s assault on the press and ask others to commit to publishing their own editorials on the same date”.
Coincidentally, this date marks the 10-month anniversary of the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia who was murdered by a car bomb.
Trump has described media reports as “fake news” and attacked journalists as “enemies of the people”.
“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,” The Boston Globe editorial said.
According to The Trump Twitter Archive, Trump tweeted 281 times so far using the term “fake news”.
The outgoing UN human rights commissioner, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, told the Guardian that Trump’s comments are “very close to incitement to violence”.
The rhetoric “could quite easily lead to harm being inflicted on journalists just going about their work and potentially some self-censorship,” he said.
According to a poll by Quinnipiac University, 51% of Republican voters now believed the media to be “the enemy of the people rather than an important part of democracy” and 52% of the Republican supporters polled were not concerned that Trump’s criticism would lead to violence against journalists. Meanwhile, 65% believe the news media to be an important part of democracy,
An Ipsos poll, found that 23% of Republicans, and about one in eight Americans overall, believed Trump should close down mainstream news outlets like CNN, the Washington Post and the New York Times.
In the first 558 days of his presidency, Trump made 4,229 false or misleading claims, according to a list compiled by The Washington Post. Yet only 17 percent of Trump supporters think that the administration regularly makes false claims.
A list of the publications denouncing Trump can be found here.