Skip to main content

Information is power. Our mission at Portside is to seek out and to provide information that empowers you -- that empowers the left. Every day we search hundreds of sources to connect you with the most interesting, striking and useful material. Just once a year we appeal to you to contribute to make it possible to continue this work. Please help.


Journalists Are Not the Enemy

A central pillar of President Trump’s politics is a sustained assault on the free press. Journalists are not classified as fellow Americans, but rather “the enemy of the people.” This relentless assault on the free press has dangerous consequences.

printer friendly  
, Credit: The Center for Public Integrity

Journalists Are Not the Enemy - Boston Globe Editorial Board
Center for Public Integrity Board of Directors Condemns President Trump’s Attacks on the Press
These Are the Newspapers Telling Trump Journalists Are Not The Enemy - Madison Park, Faith Karimi and Emily Smith (CNN)


Journalists Are Not the Enemy 

Boston Globe Editorial Board
August 16, 2018
Boston Globe

We asked editorial boards from around the country – liberal and conservative, large and small – to join us today to address this fundamental threat in their own words.

Replacing a free media with a state-run media has always been a first order of business for any corrupt regime taking over a country. 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.” This is one of the many lies that have been thrown out by this president, much like an old-time charlatan threw out “magic” dust or water on a hopeful crowd.

For more than two centuries, this foundational American principle has protected journalists at home and served as a model for free nations abroad. Today it is under serious threat. And it sends an alarming signal to despots from Ankara to Moscow, Beijing to Baghdad, that journalists can be treated as a domestic enemy.

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.

There was once broad, bipartisan, intergenerational agreement in the United States that the press played this important role. Yet that view is no longer shared by many Americans. “The news media is the enemy of the American people,” is a sentiment endorsed by 48 percent of Republicans surveyed this month by Ipsos polling firm. That poll is not an outlier. One published this week found 51 percent of Republicans considered the press “the enemy of the people rather than an important part of democracy.” 

Listen here, scroll down.

Trump’s attack feedback loop helps explain why his faithful are following him into undemocratic territory. More than a quarter of Americans now say that “the president should have the authority to close news outlets engaged in bad behavior,” including 43 percent of Republicans. Thirteen percent of those surveyed thought that “President Trump should close down mainstream news outlets, like CNN, The Washington Post and The New York Times.”

Trump can’t outlaw the press from doing its job here, of course. But the model of inciting his supporters in this regard is how 21st-century authoritarians like Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan operate; you don’t need formal censorship to strangle a supply of information. 

Trump’s apologists feebly insist that he is referring only to biased coverage, rather than the entire fourth estate. But the president’s own words and long track record show again and again just how deeply cynical and dishonest this argument is. 

The nation’s Founding Fathers took for granted that the press would be biased and yet they still explicitly enshrined the freedom of journalists and publishers in the Constitution. “Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost,” wrote Thomas Jefferson.

American politicians of all parties since the Founders have groused about the media, trying to work the refs by arguing that the news is biased against their tribe. But there was always respect for the press as an institution. It was not that long ago that Ronald Reagan proclaimed, “Our tradition of a free press as a vital part of our democracy is as important as ever.” 

“The press was to serve the governed, not the governors,” Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black wrote in 1971. Would that it were still the case. Today, the only media that Trump’s movement accepts as legitimate are those that unquestioningly advocate for its leader personally.

Indeed, it is not just that the president is stoking domestic division for political and personal gain, he’s asking his audiences to follow him into Fantasia. “Just stick with us, don’t believe the crap you see from these people, the fake news,” he told an audience in Kansas last month. “Just remember, what you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.” George Orwell put it more gracefully in his novel “1984.” “The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.” 

It is an essential endpoint to Trump’s deluge of dishonesty that he now contests objective reality and urges his supporters to do the same. 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 among Trump supporters, only 17 percent think that the administration regularly makes false claims. “Alternative facts” have become de facto.

Lies are antithetical to an informed citizenry, responsible for self-governance. The greatness of America is dependent on the role of a free press to speak the truth to the powerful. 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.


Center for Public Integrity Board of Directors Condemns President Trump’s Attacks on the Press

By The Center for Public Integrity

August 15, 2018
The Center for Public Integrity

Note from the CEO: Led by The Boston Globe, more than 350 newspapers are publishing editorials condemning President Donald Trump for his hostile rhetoric directed at the news media. The Center for Public Integrity, in an unprecedented move, has decided to issue a statement speaking out against the president's attacks:

We, the Board of Directors of the Center for Public Integrity, are deeply concerned about President Trump’s repeated statements that the press is the “enemy of the people.” These statements are unprecedented attacks on freedom of the press, one of the pillars of our democracy. Moreover, they have created a dangerous environment for reporters, who are increasingly facing verbal attacks and even threats of violence from the President’s supporters.

This is the first time in the nearly 30-year history of the Center that its board has felt obligated to issue such a declaration.

We call on the President to recognize the responsible press for what it is: a defender of the public interest and our democracy, a check on power and a valuable resource of information. Fair, rigorous criticism of the press is welcome and expected, but attacks labelling it as the “enemy of the people” or “dangerous & sick” are neither appropriate nor responsible.

The Center for Public Integrity is a non-partisan, non-profit investigative journalism organization. For nearly 30 years it has produced award‑winning, credible, data-driven investigative reporting.

These Are the Newspapers Telling Trump Journalists Are Not The Enemy

By Madison Park, Faith Karimi and Emily Smith
August 16, 2018

(CNN)About 350 newspapers in the United States had editorials Thursday decrying President Donald Trump's description of the media as the "enemy of the people."

Here are some of the newspapers blasting Trump's anti-press rhetoric.


Anchorage Daily News

Why attacks on free speech and the free press are so dangerous


The Arizona Daily Star

The free press is not the 'enemy of the people'

The Arizona Republic

Journalists, don't let Trump's attacks on media keep us from doing our job


Van Buren County Democrat
Friends like these


Fresno Bee
The Fresno Bee is not the enemy. We are Americans, and part of the Valley, like you

Idyllwild Town Crier
Out Loud: Fake news, American institutions, and the presidency

Mercury News 
Editorial: President Trump, we are not the nation's enemy

The Ferndale Enterprise
Editorial: Way ahead of the curve

The Long Beach Post

The media as 'your enemy' is perhaps Trump's biggest lie

The Orange County Register
The president's dangerous dubbing of media as America's enemy

The San Diego Union-Tribune
How we restore faith in journalism

The San Luis Obispo Tribune
We're not your enemy. We're journalists who cover the real news of SLO County


The Denver Post
We are simply standing up for what we believe in as journalists


Hartford Courant
Editorial: The President Wants You To Think We're The Enemy. Here's What We Really Do

The Lakeville Journal
Perspective on truth, lies, respect and hate


Miami Herald
Trump, we're not 'enemies of the people.' End your war on our free press

News Herald 
The First Amendment is first in line for a reason

We are your defense

Orlando Sentinel and South Florida Sun Sentinel 
President Trump, the press isn't the 'enemy' — it's America's watchdog

Sun Sentinel
President Trump, the press isn't the 'enemy' — it's America's watchdog

Tampa Bay Times
Journalists are friends of democracy, not the enemy

The Gainesville Sun

We're not the enemy of the people

The Palm Beach Post

    In defense of democracy's defenders


    The Telegraph

    President Trump, we're not 'enemies of the people.' End your war on our free press

    Valdosta Daily Times

    No fake news here, no enemy of the people


    Honolulu Star-Advertiser

    Strong democracy needs a free press


    Boise Weekly
    No, we're not your enemy. Never have been. Never will be


    Daily Herald 
    In midst of assaults, we must defend principles of First Amendment

    Journal Star
    President Trump's attacks on the press must stop

    The Chicago Sun-Times
    This newspaper is the 'enemy' of all that hurts 'the people'

    The Chicago Tribune
    Mr. President: We aren't enemies of the people. We're a check on government

    The Register-Mail 
    We believe in power of good journalism


    News and Tribune
    We are defined by purpose, not the president

    South Bend Tribune

    We're not your enemy. And there's nothing fake about what we do

    The Journal Gazette

    Watchdogs - not attack dogs


    Ames Tribune
    Freedom of the press, our democracy, at risk under Trump

    Des Moines Register
    Media are not the enemy of the people; a free press is critical to democracy


    Hillsboro Free Press
    Discrediting media a dangerous plan

    The Topeka Capital-Journal
    Press isn't 'enemy of the people'


    Bangor Daily News
    The media is the enemy only if you don't want it to know what your government is doing


    The Baltimore Sun
    News media won't back down under pressure from president

    The Star Democrat
    Your local newspaper is your neighbor

    Trump is the source, not subject, of fake news


    Athol Daily news
    Trump's media attacks are dangerous

    The Berkshire Eagle
    Our Opinion: Trump's assaults on press are assaults on democracy

    The Boston Globe
    Journalists are not the enemy

    Cape Cod Chronicle
    Tarring one journalist or media outlet as an "enemy of the people" tars us all, because we are all trying to do the same thing: report the facts.

    The Daily Free Press
    Journalists are not the 'enemy of the people,' they are the people

    The Swellesley Report
    What's important about this isn't so much what we do, it's that we can do it

    The Sun Chronicle
    Sun Chronicle joins others in emphasizing importance of free press

    Whitman-Hanson Express
    We stand for press freedom


    Deadline Detroit 
    We stand with our US colleagues against 'Fake News' claims

    Detroit Free Press

    Defending my profession amid 'enemy of the people' rhetoric


    Duluth News Tribune
    Free press -- our protection from tyranny

    Swift County Monitor-News
    Attacks on journalists will lead to violence


    The Columbian-Progress
    The ultimate friend of the people


    The Kansas City Star
    President Trump, we're not 'enemies of the people.' End your war on our free press

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    Stand in defense of the truth. Don't let Trump label journalists as "the enemy"


    Bozeman Daily Chronicle
    Journalists aren't the enemy; we are you


    Falls City Journal
    'We are not the enemy, we are your peers, friends, and neighbors.'

    Omaha World-Herald 
    Omaha World-Herald remains committed to our community and state

    The Seward County Independent 
    Trump's attacks on media unfair


    Daily Hampshire Gazette
    Journalists performing public service are not the enemy


    The Atlantic City Weekly
    Joining in solidarity with the Boston Globe, others

    The Star-Ledger

      Think your enemy is the press? So does every tyrant and corrupt politician

      Sentinel of Gloucester County
      Call for action to protect the freedom of the press


      Albuquerque Journal

      A check on power

      Las Cruces Sun-News

      We join effort to stand up for a free press

      The Santa Fe New Mexican

      Here since the beginning — a free press

      Valencia County News Bulletin
      We are not the enemy; We are the people

      NEW YORK

      El Diario
      Defendemos la libertad de prensa

      Examiner Media
      Newsprint Tariffs and Fake News Mantra a Threat to Democracy

      The Altamont Enterprise
      Journalism needs a champion -- you

      The Chronicle-Express
      We are not the enemy of the people

      The Post-Standard 
      Journalists are not the 'enemy of the people'

      Queens Courier and the Ridgewood Times
      Stop attacking the press! Remember the First Amendment of our Constitution

      New York Post
      Hate the press all you want — we'll keep reporting

      The New York Times
      A Free Press Needs You

      The Sag Harbor Express
      We Are the People


      Las Vegas Sun

      Take it from the Founding Fathers: Journalists are Public Ally No. 1


      Fayetteville Observer 
      Our View: 'Fake news' and all the president's taunts

      The News & Observer

      President Trump, we're not 'enemies of the people.' End your war on our free press.

      The Star News
      Trump's attacks on press go too far


      The Bismarck Tribune
      We aren't the 'enemy' when covering news

      The Grand Forks Herald
      This is not fake news


      Athens News
      In attacking journalists, Trump damages all Americans

      The Chagrin Valley Times
      Local news is real

      The Chronicle
      The media are not the enemy

      Toledo Blade
      No more enemies


      Enid News & Eagle

      A free press is not the 'enemy of the people'


      Hillsboro Tribune
      The news isn't 'fake' just because you see things differently


      The Daily Item
      This just in: We are not the enemy

      The Delaware County Daily Times
      President Trump, we are not the enemy of the people

      The Elizabethtown Advocate
      We need Freedom of the Press, Not Freedom in Name Only

      The Ellwood City Ledger
      Ledger joins nationwide call to action to defend attacks on journalists as 'enemy of the American people'

      The Philadelphia Inquirer
      Stop the war on a free press


      The Providence Journal
      Trump attacks the messenger


      Rapid City Journal

        Journalists are hardly 'the enemy of the people'

        The Freeman Courier
        'Enemy of the people' rhetoric damaging


        Austin American-Statesman
        Journalists are watchdog neighbors, not enemy of the people

        Dallas Morning News
        We the people hold our elected officials accountable

        Hays Free Press
        We are the people

        Houston Chronicle

        The real enemy of the people? It's not the press

        San Antonio Express-News

        The pernicious trap of 'fake news'

        The Victoria Advocate

        Enemy of the people? Don't worry, we have your back

        Waco-Tribune Herald

        Facts are not fake, newspapers are not the enemy


        Ogden Standard-Examiner

        The president needs to end his 'fake news' catch-all phrase

        The Salt Lake Tribune

        We are not the enemy of the people


        Hardwick Gazette

        Truly fake news

        Manchester Journal
        Press freedom is a Vermont value

        The Commons
        Make no mistake: This attack on our free press -- your free press -- is deliberate and calculated


        Henrico Citizen

        The press is not your enemy


        Tri-City Herald 
        President Trump, we're not 'enemies of the people.' End your war on our free press

        Real Change News
        There has never been a more critical time to engage in free speech


        The Eau Claire Leader-Telegram
        Phrases damaging for free press

        The Plymouth Review
        This dirty war against the press must end

        The Ripon Commonwealth Press
        One thing worse than the 'enemies of the American people' ...

        OTHERS (Magazines, professional organizations, etc)

        Center for Public Integrity

          Center for Public Integrity Board of Directors condemns President Trump's attacks on the press

          President Trump, we're not 'enemies of the people.' End your war on our free press

          Society of Professional Journalists
          The press isn't "fake"

          The Forward
          Why an independent press matters to American Jews