The Current

Newspapers rebuking Trump probably won't change anyone's mind, says veteran reporter

More than 200 newspapers in the U.S. have published co-ordinated editorials as a rebuttal to President Trump's repeated attacks on the media. But opinion is divided over whether it will have any effect.

Boston Globe campaign could do as much harm as good, warns one editorial

The Boston Globe launched the campaign to co-ordinate a response to U.S. President Donald Trump's attacks on the free press. (ERIC BARADAT/AFP/Getty Images)

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A co-ordinated newspaper rebuttal to U.S. President Donald Trump's attacks on the media is unlikely to change people's minds, according to a veteran journalist.

"I think people who read editorials in newspapers probably aren't the people who are on Donald Trump's side, generally speaking," said Mark Bulgutch, a former senior executive producer of CBC News who now teaches journalism at Ryerson University.

In a campaign launched by The Boston Globe, more than 200 U.S. papers printed editorials defending the free press Thursday, rebuking the president for repeatedly labelling them "the enemy of the people."

Bulgutch agreed that "you can't let Donald Trump and his ilk get away with the attacks," but wasn't certain it would make a difference.

"Will it actually do anything, will it persuade anybody who already might support Donald Trump or is neutral — will it change any minds?

"It's hard to say that it will."

'Fake disgusting news'

2 years agoVideo
U.S. President Donald Trump continues to air his grievances against the press at a Pennsylvania rally. 0:08

The president has repeatedly accused the media of publishing fake news and refuses to call on reporters from certain outlets. Last month a CNN reporter was barred from a White House event for asking "inappropriate" questions.

Not all newspapers have taken part in the editorial response, however.

"Trump's anti-press rhetoric is toothless and should be of little concern to a confident, competent news media, the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia stated in an editorial.

The Dispatch added that "a unified editorial campaign aimed at the president will do as much harm as good," by confirming his supporters' belief that the news media is united against Trump.

Sandra Shea, who wrote the editorial for the Philadelphia Inquirer, said that there was never a thought that it would "change the mind of Donald Trump, or change the mind of his supporters."

"This was a message, I believe, we were trying to communicate to the American people … of a reminder of the importance of the free press, of the importance of what happens without a free press," she said.

"[The free press] is one of the key institutions of our government."

Listen to the full conversation near the top of this page, which includes an extended interview with Stan Behal, a journalist physically attacked at a recent rally.

This segment was produced by The Current's Julie Crysler and Noushin Ziafati.


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