During his time in office, President Donald Trump has continued to escalate his cries of fake news, stating the media is the “enemy of the people” and even going so far as to say the media causes wars.
This is more than political theater; this is a dangerous tactic that is leading ordinary citizens to act. Just last week we heard about reporting teams having to add security guards while reporting at political rallies, out of fear of being harmed while trying to do their jobs. We’ve also seen the rhetoric’s impact on public perception. A recent survey shows that 43 percent of self-identified Republicans said that they believed “the president should have the authority to close news outlets engaged in bad behavior.” Forty-eight percent of them agreed with the statement “the media is the enemy of the people.”
We cannot allow this to continue. Our Founding Fathers had many complaints about the 18th century press, but they also understood at a deep and fundamental level that a “managed” or “regulated” press would lead to tyranny. Our First Amendment right to a free press must be protected and respected — especially by the highest elected official in the country.
Today, newspapers fought back the best way they know how: they took to the presses. In a unified voice, they called for an end to these attacks and stressed the importance of quality journalism and a free press to hold our government officials accountable. The Boston Globe led this nationwide response from publishers, sounding the alarm on the dangers of the administration’s assaults on the press.
Fortunately, there is still freedom of the press in this country, and we must continue to report the truth, no matter the cost, and not allow those who would attempt to strip us of that freedom to go unquestioned. By standing together in the common defense of our profession and the vital role it plays, we ensure the future of our democracy.
To view The Boston Globe‘s editorial, click here.
David Chavern is former President & CEO of the News/Media Alliance. Chavern has 30 years of experience in executive strategic and operational roles. Prior to the Alliance, he completed a decade-long tenure at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.