As newspapers unite to defend press freedom, Trump accuses them of 'COLLUSION'

Dylan Stableford
Senior Editor

President Trump on Thursday accused newspapers that are participating in a Boston Globe-led editorial campaign protesting his attacks on the press of colluding against him.

“The Boston Globe, which was sold to the the [sic] Failing New York Times for 1.3 BILLION DOLLARS (plus 800 million dollars in losses & investment), or 2.1 BILLION DOLLARS, was then sold by the Times for 1 DOLLAR,” Trump tweeted. “Now the Globe is in COLLUSION with other papers on free press. PROVE IT!”

It’s unclear what the president wants proven.

President Trump speaks before a dinner at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., earlier this month. (Photo: Carolyn Kaster/AP)

“There is nothing that I would want more for our Country than true FREEDOM OF THE PRESS,” Trump continued. “The fact is that the Press is FREE to write and say anything it wants, but much of what it says is FAKE NEWS, pushing a political agenda or just plain trying to hurt people. HONESTY WINS!”

More than 300 newspapers around the country published separate editorials on Thursday condemning Trump’s anti-media rhetoric.

“We have a president who has created a mantra that members of the media who do not blatantly support the policies of the current U.S. administration are the ‘enemy of the people,’” the Globe said in its editorial. “The press is necessary to a free society because it does not implicitly trust leaders — from the local planning board to the White House. And it’s not a coincidence that this president — whose financial affairs are murky and whose suspicious pattern of behavior triggered his own Justice Department to appoint an independent counsel to investigate him — has tried so hard to intimidate journalists who provide independent scrutiny.”

The latest salvo in President Trump’s war on the press. (Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photos: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images, Boston Globe, AP)

“News reporters and editors are human, and make mistakes,” the New York Times said. “Correcting them is core to our job. But insisting 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.”

While plenty of national newspapers took part in the project, many were local, and from states that voted for Trump in 2016.

“We aren’t the enemy of the people,” the North Little Rock (Ark.) Times wrote. “We are the people. We aren’t fake news. We are your news and we struggle night and day to get the facts right.”

Some prominent newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle, declined to participate.

“This is not because we don’t believe that President Trump has been engaged in a cynical, demagogic and unfair assault on our industry. He has, and we have written about it on numerous occasions,” Los Angeles Times editorial page editor Nicholas Goldberg explained. “The editorial board decided not to write about the subject on this particular Thursday because we cherish our independence.”

Goldberg predicted Trump would accuse newspapers of collusion.

“The president himself already treats the media as a cabal,” Goldberg wrote, “suggesting over and over that we’re in cahoots to do damage to the country. The idea of joining together to protest him seems almost to encourage that kind of conspiracy thinking by the president and his loyalists. Why give them ammunition to scream about ‘collusion’?”

John Diaz, the Chronicle’s editorial page editor, was equally prescient.

“It plays into Trump’s narrative that the media are aligned against him,” Diaz wrote. “I can just anticipate his Thursday morning tweets accusing the ‘FAKE NEWS MEDIA’ of ‘COLLUSION!’”

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