US media defend themselves against Trump

Media across the US have taken concerted action to defend themselves against the attacks of President Donald Trump. On the initiative of the Boston Globe, roughly 350 newspapers took a stance in their leading articles against the accusation that they spread fake news. Journalists in Europe show solidarity with the action, but not without voicing some criticism too.

Open/close all quotes
El País (ES) /

A warning to Europe

Europe should take a close look at the direction in which Trump is steering the US, El País warns:

“With this resistance these media have revealed a reality that should be taken note of in Europe, where certain governments see the US president's drifting off course as something positive. Populism and sensationalism are two sides of the same coin, both of which could destroy democracy in the end. President Trump is determined to align the United States with the dark side, showing lenience towards authoritarian regimes and transforming the America of Lincoln, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Obama into a melancholic relict of times gone by.”

Cyprus Mail (CY) /

Image of media as enemy of the people spreading

The Cyprus Mail is also worried about the state of democracy in the US:

“Systematically undermining news organisations and labelling them 'enemies of the American people,' as President Trump has done, is a disservice to the long traditions of free speech and democracy in the US to which the free press has made a big contribution. What is most worrying is that 51 per cent of Republicans now regard the media as the enemy of the American people, which indicates that Trump's fake news outbursts are having an effect. This will encourage him to carry on with the same tactic, regardless of the editorials in the US media defending free speech.”

Delo (SI) /

Media should be more self-critical

For Delo's US correspondent Sebastijan Kopušar the media bear partial responsibility for the difficulties they now face:

“There's a grain of truth in Trump's poisonous words. After all, the media themselves hyped his campaign along the lines: it may not be good for America but it's good for viewer ratings. Now they can barely refrain from voicing their contempt for the White House's new resident. US democracy is strong enough to survive Trump. But his attacks on the media are all the more dangerous in that they coincide with a general crisis in the press. US newspapers are closing their doors and dismissing journalists - which is grist to the mill of those in power.”

Berlingske (DK) /

Not the time for trench wars

Berlingske also voices scepticism about the media protest and warns against verbal trench wars:

“On the one hand it's understandable that a whole range of American newspapers have formulated their protest in lead articles in which they take issue with Trump's vilification of the media. On the other hand the press should avoid the temptation of getting caught up in a trench war with Trump - a temptation which some media have unfortunately succumbed to. For that reason our paper is not publishing this article as part of a collective action but because the president's attacks on the media have reached the point where they must be commented on in this prominent place.”