LA Times, Wall Street Journal, SF Chronicle Don’t Participate in Organized Effort to Denounce Trump’s Press Attacks
SF Chronicle: “It plays into Trump’s narrative that the media are aligned against him.”
Newspapers across the country have joined forces to publish editorials that protest President Donald Trump’s attacks against the press and declaring the media the enemy of the people.
That group is missing three large publications: The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The San Francisco Chronicle.
When I heard about this protest, I thought to myself, “So you’re giving Trump and his followers more reasons to attack you. They say you’re actively working against his administration and this is your response?”
The Los Angeles Times editorial board made it known they support other publications to do this and reminded everyone that they have published editorials criticizing Trump’s comments.
However, they chose not to take part in the protest (emphasis mine):
We still believe that. Nevertheless, the editorial board decided not to write about the subject on this particular Thursday because we cherish our independence.
The Los Angeles Times editorial board does not speak for the New York Times or for the Boston Globe or the Chicago Tribune or the Denver Post. We share certain opinions with those newspapers; we disagree on other things. Even when we do agree with another editorial page — on the death penalty or climate change or war in Afghanistan, say — we reach our own decisions and positions after careful consultation and deliberation among ourselves, and then we write our own editorials. We would not want to leave the impression that we take our lead from others, or that we engage in groupthink.
The president himself already treats the media as a cabal — “enemies of the people,” he has called us, 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”?
The Wall Street Journal decided not to join as well:
The First Amendment does not say that the government cannot criticize the press. Mr. Trump enjoys free speech just as his media adversaries do. Rather, the First Amendment prevents government from infringing on the rights of Americans to speak and publish. And on that score, there’s a reasonable case that Mr. Trump’s predecessor presented a greater threat to press freedom, to say nothing of Mr. Trump’s 2016 opponent. Mrs. Clinton wanted to restrict the ability of Americans to make a documentary about her. We don’t recall editorial boards joining together to announce they were not with her.
As for the Globe’s current campaign, Journal editorial page Editor Paul Gigot says that this newspaper will not be participating.
The San Francisco Chronicle chose not to participate:
One of our most essential values is independence. The Globe’s argument is that having a united front on the issue — with voices from Boise to Boston taking a stand for the First Amendment, each in a newspaper’s own words — makes a powerful statement. However, I would counter that answering a call to join the crowd, no matter how worthy the cause, is not the same as an institution deciding on its own to raise a matter.
Our decision might have been different had we not weighed in so often on Trump’s myriad moves to undermine journalism: from calling us “enemies of the American people” to invoking the term “fake news” against real news to denying access to reporters who dare do their jobs to slapping tariffs on newsprint to requesting the prosecution of reporters who reveal classified information to threatening punitive actions against the business interest of owners of CNN and the Washington Post.
Just like the LA Times, the SF Chronicle worries that this campaign “plays into Trump’s narrative that the media are aligned against him.”
I hate hearing the president call the press the enemy of the people. But as Elizabeth Nolan Brown at Reason points out, “whipping up contempt toward the press has been a staple of right-wing talking points in this country for at least two decades. The president’s preening anti-media tirades are not so much stirring new hatred within his base as stoking a longstanding sentiment.”
Brown also notes that “the good folks in Congress, state government, and federal agencies are doing things all the time that actually infringe on freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and an open internet, while the vast majority of news outlets remain silent at best.”
I’d like to add that the media chooses to chase tabloid stories or stretch the truth. Instead of reporting on issues that actually affect our daily lives, they choose to operate like soap operas. All this week it’s been nothing but Omarosa! I know policy isn’t sexy, but come on.
Plus, the media has a wide array of issues to legitimately nitpick at when it comes to Trump’s administration. They don’t need to make things up or cause drama over some tweets.
For instance, it’s sexier and more Hollywood-like to dig deep into Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s personal life than dig through his past rulings and bring up his views on the 4th amendment. But I guess that’s a big deal, even though interpreting the Constitution will literally be his job on the Supreme Court. Nope! It’s more important to find out who went with him to baseball games.
Then there’s Jeff Sessions. I cannot stand the man and have many reasons to dislike him so I don’t have to make things up. The media does! In July, the media claimed Sessions chanted “lock her up” with college kids at a youth summit. He did not do this. If you don’t want to be called fake news then don’t spread fake news!
How about good old Jim Acosta? He plasters himself all over the place, acting like he’s challenging Trump’s narrative when he’s really only making the story about himself. Instead, he should counter Trump’s narrative by pushing out real news like his colleague Jake Tapper or Salena Zito. Now if Acosta acted this way with every administration his actions wouldn’t bother me.
That’s the other thing and the WSJ‘s editorial touched on it. If the press acted up in arms about press threats during Obama’s administration or aggressively went after his policies and officials like they do with Trump, it wouldn’t bother me so much.DONATE
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