The Guardian view on the press and Trump: speaking truth to power | Editorial

Photo of The Guardian view on the press and Trump: speaking truth to power | Editorial

On Thursday, hundreds of US news organisations are publishing editorials opposing the president’s attacks on the press. The Guardian stands with them

Press freedom was not invented in the United States, but there are few nations in which the importance of an independent press has been so closely woven into its long history. This great American tradition of civic respect for truth and truth-telling is now under threat. Donald Trump is not the first US president to attack the press or to feel unfairly treated by it. But he is the first who appears to have a calculated and consistent policy of undermining, delegitimising and even endangering the press’s work.

On Thursday, following an initiative by the Boston Globe, it is expected that some 350 editorial boards in news organisations across the United States will publish their own editorial comments on this issue. There is, of course, a risk in this initiative, and there will be differing press views about it. For some, including Mr Trump, it will feed the narrative that there is a partisan war between the press and the president. But the breadth of the response to the Boston Globe’s suggestion – and the fact that each editorial will be separately and independently written – suggests something different: that those who report and comment, day in and day out, in as professional and objective a manner as we can, are concerned that public respect for journalistic truth, reason and civility are under a new and present threat against which we must stand as best we can. As one editor has put it: we’re not at war with the Trump administration, we’re at work.

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