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Trump called the press “the enemy of the people.” Now more than 300 papers are pushing back.

The papers published editorials defending freedom of the press, in an effort coordinated by the Boston Globe.

Copies of the New York Times
On Thursday, the New York Times was among more than 300 newspapers pushing back against President Trump’s claim that the press is “the enemy of the people.”
Mario Tama/Getty Images
Anna North is a senior correspondent for Vox, where she covers American family life, work, and education. Previously, she was an editor and writer at the New York Times. She is also the author of three novels, including the New York Times bestseller Outlawed.

President Trump has called the press “the enemy of the people,” “very dangerous & sick” and, of course, “fake news.” Now newspapers are fighting back.

More than 300 newspapers across the US ran editorials Thursday promoting freedom of the press, part of an effort coordinated by the Boston Globe. Participants include large newspapers like the New York Times and small local publications with circulations as low as 4,000, and the Globe encouraged editorial boards to participate regardless of their political point of view. The Times has published a list of the participating papers.

The principle of a free press, the Globe’s editorial board wrote, “has protected journalists at home and served as a model for free nations abroad. Today it is under serious threat.”

In a recent poll, the Globe noted, 48 percent of Republicans and 29 percent of Americans overall agreed with Trump that the news media is the enemy of the people. Forty-three percent of Republicans and 26 percent of Americans said the president should be able to close news outlets for bad behavior.

“The greatness of America is dependent on the role of a free press to speak the truth to the powerful,” the board wrote. “To label the press ‘the enemy of the people’ is as un-American as it is dangerous to the civic compact we have shared for more than two centuries.”

Editorial boards around the country added their own words on Thursday.

From the Tampa Bay Times:

A free press builds the foundation for democracy. Citizens depend on honest, independent media for accurate information they need about their government, their elected leaders and their institutions. That is just as important in Tampa Bay and in communities across the nation as it is in Washington, and the Times takes that responsibility seriously.

The Chicago Sun-Times:

We are, at the Sun-Times, the enemy of unchecked authority and undeserved privilege. We are the enemy of self-entitlement. We are the enemy of the notion that the only way up is to hold somebody else down.

The New York Times:

If you haven’t already, please subscribe to your local papers. Praise them when you think they’ve done a good job and criticize them when you think they could do better. We’re all in this together.

The Valencia County News-Bulletin:

On bitter cold January nights, we’re the people’s eyes and ears at city, town, village and school board meetings. We tell the stories of our communities, from the fun of a county fair to the despair a family faces when a loved one is killed.

We are always by your side. We shop the same stores, attend the same churches and hike the same trails. We struggle with daycare and worry about paying for retirement.

In our work as journalists, our first loyalty is to you.

The president appeared to respond to the editorials on Twitter Thursday morning:

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