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Press “not enemy of the people”, U.S. Senate rebukes Trump

US President Donald Trump

By Prudence Arobani

The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution on Thursday, rebuking President Donald Trump’s statement that the news media is “the enemy of the people”.

The Republican-led Senate, in the unanimous resolution across the aisles, affirmed that the news media is not the enemy of the people.

The Senate affirmed its commitment to protecting freedom of speech and condemned recent attacks on journalists and members of the media.

Trump has labelled the media as being the “enemy of the American people”, “very dishonest” and “fake news”, and he has accused the press of distorting democracy and spreading conspiracy theories and blind hatred.

Nearly 350 news media in coordinated editorials on Thursday, attacked Trump over what they termed the president’s consistent attacks on them.

The Boston Globe made a call last week for a nationwide denouncement of the president’s “dirty war” against the media, using the hash-tag #EnemyOfNone.

In a resolution brought forth by Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz, a Democrat, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, lawmakers affirmed “that the press is not the enemy of the people,” which passed by unanimous consent.

The resolution also reaffirmed “the vital and indispensable role the free press serves to inform the electorate, uncover the truth, act as a check on the inherent power of the government, further national discourse and debate, and otherwise advance our most basic and cherished democratic norms and freedoms.”

It condemned “attacks on the institution of the free press” and said the Senate “views efforts to systematically undermine the credibility of the press as a whole as an attack on our democratic institutions”.

The resolution also mentioned quotes from previous U.S. presidents, including the Founding Fathers, who revered a free and independent press.

“Throughout history, the free press has always kept our government in check when it has gone astray, perhaps more than anywhere else around the world, and the Congress has a duty to protect the press’s First Amendment right.

“We rely on reporters and newscasters to keep our leaders honest, accountable, and always working in the best interest of the American people.

“I truly believe that America always solves its problems and combating dangerous and irresponsible attacks on journalism is no exception,” Schumer said in a statement.

Schatz said he was “a little less surprised” the resolution passed in a Republican-led Senate, adding “I think the mouse is trying to roar wherever it can”.

Trump, while pushing back against the coordinated editorials against him, alleged much of what they said were fake news ad accused them of pushing a political agenda or trying to hurt people.

The president in a barrage of tweets reacted to the coordinated editorials against him: “THE FAKE NEWS MEDIA IS THE OPPOSITION PARTY. It is very bad for our Great Country….BUT WE ARE WINNING!

“The Boston Globe, which was sold to the Failing New York Times for 1.3 BILLION DOLLARS (plus 800 million dollars in losses & investment), or 2.1 BILLION DOLLARS, was then sold by the Times for 1 DOLLAR. Now the Globe is in COLLUSION with other papers on free press. PROVE IT!

“There is nothing that I would want more for our Country than true FREEDOM OF THE PRESS. The fact is that the Press is FREE to write and say anything it wants, but much of what it says is FAKE NEWS, pushing a political agenda or just plain trying to hurt people. HONESTY WINS!”

The hundreds of newspapers and sites participating include the New York Times, Chicago Sun Times, Philadelphia Inquirer and Miami Herald, while a host of smaller papers from cities and towns around the country are also joining in.

The Boston Globe, in the editorial, headlined ‘Journalists Are Not The Enemy’, argued that a free press had been a core American principle for more than 200 years.

The New York Times chose the headline ‘A Free Press Needs You’, calling Mr Trump’s attacks “dangerous to the lifeblood of democracy”.

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