A Free Press Needs You

FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES

Opinion
A FREE PRESS NEEDS YOU
By The Editorial Board
AUG. 15, 2018

In 1787, the year the Constitution was born, Thomas Jefferson famously wrote to a friend, “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”

That’s how he felt before he became president, anyway. Twenty years later, after enduring the oversight of the press from inside the White House, he was less sure of its value. “Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper,” he wrote. “Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle.”

Jefferson’s discomfort was, and remains, understandable. Reporting the news in an open society is an enterprise laced with conflict. His discomfort also illustrates the need for the right he helped enshrine. As the founders believed from their own experience, a well-informed public is best equipped to root out corruption and, over the long haul, promote liberty and justice.

“Public discussion is a political duty,” the Supreme Court said in 1964. That discussion must be “uninhibited, robust, and wide-open,” and “may well include vehement, caustic and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials.”

In 2018, some of the most damaging attacks are coming from government officials. Criticizing the news media — for underplaying or overplaying stories, for getting something wrong — is entirely right. News reporters and editors are human, and make mistakes. Correcting them is core to our job. But insisting that truths you don’t like are “fake news” is dangerous to the lifeblood of democracy. And calling journalists the “enemy of the people” is dangerous, period.

These attacks on the press are particularly threatening to journalists in nations with a less secure rule of law and to smaller publications in the United States, already buffeted by the industry’s economic crisis. And yet the journalists at those papers continue to do the hard work of asking questions and telling the stories that you otherwise wouldn’t hear. Consider The San Luis Obispo Tribune, which wrote about the death of a jail inmate who was restrained for 46 hours. The account forced the county to change how it treats mentally ill prisoners.

Answering a call last week from The Boston Globe, The Times is joining hundreds of newspapers, from large metro-area dailies to small local weeklies, to remind readers of the value of America’s free press. These editorials, some of which we’ve excerpted, together affirm a fundamental American institution.

If you haven’t already, please subscribe to your local papers. Praise them when you think they’ve done a good job and criticize them when you think they could do better. We’re all in this together.

All states         AlabamaAlaskaArizonaArkansasCaliforniaColoradoConnecticutDelawareD.C.FloridaGeorgiaHawaiiIdahoIllinoisIndianaIowaKansasKentuckyLouisianaMaineMarylandMassachusettsMichiganMinnesotaMississippiMissouriMontanaNationalNebraskaNevadaNew HampshireNew JerseyNew MexicoNew YorkNorth CarolinaNorth DakotaOhioOklahomaOregonPennsylvaniaRhode IslandSouth CarolinaSouth DakotaTennesseeTexasUnited KingdomUtahVermontVirginiaWashingtonWest VirginiaWisconsinWyoming

SIZING UP THE SOUTHALABAMA, FLORIDA, GEORGIA, SOUTH CAROLINA, PUERTO RICO AND THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS“The SPJ Region 3 leadership, including in South Carolina, Florida, Georgia and Alabama, believes it is equally important for local news outlets to repudiate the onslaught of hostility toward the press. We must stand firm with our brothers and sisters in journalism as a family, supporting our First Amendment right to report accurately on our government.”

THE SOCIETY OF ENVIRONMENTAL JOURNALISTS“If you win an award (and the Society of Environmental Journalists just gave some) for exposing the U.S. military as major polluters (kudos, ProPublica), does that make you an enemy — or a friend — of the American people?”

THE ARIZONA DAILY STARTUCSON, ARIZ.“At a practical level, we journalists sit through boring government meetings and learn about public school financing formulas, so you don’t have to. It’s not as lofty a statement as the First Amendment, but it serves.”

THE TUCSON SENTINELTUCSON, ARIZ.

VAN BUREN COUNTY DEMOCRATCLINTON, ARK.“And of all the reactions to ‘Enemy of the People’ the one most overpowering is disappointment. Words, after all, matter – a point we prove every week. And those words, from that pulpit, are unacceptable and utterly, utterly, wrong.”

THE NORTH LITTLE ROCK TIMESNORTH LITTLE ROCK, ARK.

DIXON’S INDEPENDENT VOICEDIXON, CALIF.

THE NORTH COAST JOURNALEUREKA, CALIF.

THE FERNDALE ENTERPRISEFERNDALE, CALIF.“The ‘fake news’ mantra is not unique to our current ‘commander in chief.’ In this small town, we’ve heard it for years — as has any other small town editor in remote locations around our great nation. For the most part, we’ve been amused by the desperation of those who echo it.”

THE IDYLLWILD TOWN CRIERIDYLLWILD, CALIF.“A person who blasts reliable news sources as fake when they prove him wrong on an issue, or when it reveals his self-contradictions or his ignorance, or whenever he simply doesn’t like it, is denying reality.”

THE SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNESAN DIEGO, CALIF.“Distrust is not easy to dismantle. But journalists at The San Diego Union-Tribune and nationwide will keep advocating for a free and fair press. With this president. And the next. And the next. And the next. And all who follow.”

THE MERCURY NEWS AND EAST BAY TIMESSAN JOSE, CALIF.“Journalists are trying to do a job. We’re not trying to tear down our nation. We’re trying to strengthen it. For we believe in the foundational premise behind the First Amendment – that our nation is stronger if its people are informed.”

THE SLO TRIBUNESAN LUIS OBISPO, CALIF.“It’s reporter Nick Wilson writing about a 76-year-old man in need of a kidney transplant who didn’t expect to survive the five-year wait for an organ donation. Thanks to Nick’s story, an anonymous donor stepped up within the month and donated a kidney.”

THE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA NEWS GROUPCALIFORNIA“Words have power, and none so much here in the United States as the words of the president.”

THE COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENTCATHEDRAL CITY, CALIF.“After all, we need to share our roads, our stores, our cities, our planet; shouldn’t we at least make an effort to understand each other?”

THE LONG BEACH POSTLONG BEACH, CALIF.“But now, more than ever, the media has to keep an extraordinarily vigilant watch over the actions and words of the leader of this country. In happier times it didn’t need to be said that a free press is essential to democracy. Now, sadly, it does.”

THE MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLYSEASIDE, CALIF.

THE ARGONAUTLOS ANGELES, CALIF.“But even the media — perhaps clinging too tightly to traditional values of objectivity, or afraid of alienating audiences and customers amid the industry’s unprecedented economic uncertainty — has failed to mount an adequate defense, choosing instead to breathlessly amplify a presidential Twitter account calling for our own demise.”

SAN DIEGO CITYBEATSAN DIEGO, CALIF.“And while many editorials were written in the wake of the Capital Gazette massacre, there still seemed to be a sense that it would be ethically irresponsible to draw parallels between the shooting and the president’s verbal attacks on the media. But they are connected, even if it’s circumstantial.”

THE VENTURA COUNTY REPORTERVENTURA, CALIF.“Further, the president is the master of fake news with no remorse. According to The Fact Checker, an online database that verifies the president’s claims, in 558 days, he’s made 4,229 false claims.”

THE DENVER POSTDENVER, COLO.“We are simply standing up for what we believe in as journalists.”

THE PAGOSA SPRINGS SUNPAGOSA SPRINGS, COLO.“Our concern with the president’s comments has nothing to do with party affiliation. It’s not about whether you’re a conservative or a liberal. Heck, on any given day we have been called both conservative and liberal two or three times over. That doesn’t matter to us. What matters to us is keeping the public informed.”

THE HARTFORD COURANTHARTFORD, CONN.“We’re at high school football games, at zoning hearings and the latest show so that we can help you decide if it’s worth going. And when the unthinkable happens and 6-year-olds are gunned down at school, we wrestle with our own shock and grief while telling a stunned state the story. Doesn’t sound like the nefarious work of enemies of the American people. Sounds like people who care about the community where they own homes, pay taxes, send their kids to school. Who believe, simply, that truth can help us all lead better lives.”

THE CHRONICLEWILLIMANTIC, CONN.

THE RECORD-JOURNALMERIDEN, CONN.“Perhaps it is this resolve that the president finds so irritating, because it is the president who withers in the sunshine of open information. In response to the facts, the president resorts to name calling and stigmatization, bringing discourse to the level of the playground.”

THE CENTER FOR PUBLIC INTEGRITYWASHINGTON, D.C.“Fair, rigorous criticism of the press is welcome and expected, but attacks labeling it as the ‘enemy of the people’ or ‘dangerous & sick’ are neither appropriate nor responsible.”

THE SEAFORD STAR AND THE LAUREL STARSEAFORD, DEL.“While our newspapers may be different, today we stand together in solidarity. For we are the messengers, the champions of the underdog, the cheerleaders of our youth, the spotlight on evil, the voices for the voiceless, and the eyes and ears of our communities. We are not the enemy.”

THE LAKEVILLE JOURNAL AND THE MILLERTON NEWSFALLS VILLAGE, CONN. AND MILLERTON, N.Y.“Americans may not like the news they see or hear but they should not hold that against those who report it. In short, don’t shoot the messenger.”

THE DAYTONA BEACH NEWS-JOURNALDAYTONA BEACH, FLA.“Some of his loyal followers have seized upon Trump’s angry rhetoric, to the point that even local stories in independent community newspapers like The News-Journal are sometimes now tagged ‘Fake News’ — not because of inaccuracy, but because of the facts reported.”

SUN SENTINELDEERFIELD BEACH, FLA.“Our country’s leader shouldn’t be making it easier for dictators to harass and silence journalists in places where freedom of the press remains a dream.”

FOLIO WEEKLYJACKSONVILLE, FLA.

THE MIAMI HERALDMIAMI, FLA.“It’s not just that we dislike being called ‘fake news.’ That misnomer discredits facts and creates what Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway called ‘alternative facts,’ making reasoned and informed debate basically impossible.”

THE NEWS HERALDPANAMA CITY, FLA.

THE HIGHLANDS NEWS-SUNSEBRING, FLA.“That dynamic tension between the press and politicians is part of the long-held democratic vision of America, going back to our Founding Fathers.”

THE TAMPA BAY TIMESST. PETERSBURG, FLA.“In such a toxic environment, Trump’s declarations undermine not just journalists and news organizations but the communities and democracy we endeavor to serve.”

THE FLORIDA TIMES-UNIONJACKSONVILLE, FLA.

THE GAINESVILLE SUNGAINESVILLE, FLA.“Covering the White House is certainly different than being a cub reporter at a small paper, but the president’s attacks on the media undermine the work of everyone in the profession.”

THE LEDGERLAKELAND, FLA.

THE OCALA STAR-BANNEROCALA, FLA.“We take pride in our work and our daily mission to bring you the latest news in a accurate and fair manner, but we also take pride in the community we call home.”

THE ORLANDO SENTINELORLANDO, FLA.“With elections looming, voters need and deserve more answers about where candidates stand on the issues so they can make informed decisions.”

THE PALM BEACH POSTWEST PALM BEACH, FLA.“The Palm Beach Post, here for 102 years, is deeply committed to serving its community. On our news pages, we’ve exposed corrupt politicians, revealed abuses against the environment, cast an unsparing spotlight on the opioid crisis. We tell you what your town’s government is voting on, when a new restaurant is debuting, where the next traffic crunch will be.”

THE MAUI NEWSMAUI, HAWAII“If we were committed to the dissemination of ‘fake news,’ we certainly wouldn’t be running letters critical of our stories and editorials.”

THE BOISE WEEKLYBOISE, IDAHO“There is nobility, selflessness and even greatness in people from Boston to Boise (and beyond); but the current climate of divisiveness stoked by a rash but charismatic leader has eroded some trust in one another and, quite possibly, ourselves.”

THE DAILY HERALDARLINGTON HEIGHTS, ILL.“The press in America is no blend of disparate tastes and interests into one singular identifiable amalgamation. It is a vast, diversified collection of distinct voices serving specific interests and communities. This is the very nature of democracy.”

THE CHICAGO SUN-TIMESCHICAGO, ILL.“Chicago is a better city today, decades later, for that constant competition between these two quality news companies that, for all their differences, sure do give a damn about ‘the people.’”

THE CHICAGO TRIBUNECHICAGO, ILL.“At some point such verbal assault encourages ideological extremists to take action. It threatens journalists’ personal safety. And it undercuts that responsibility for a press that’s supposedly free of government control to act as a watchdog on public officials.”

THE REGISTER-MAILGALESBURG, ILL.“It’s easy to see why a public official would vilify news reporters. If you can’t trust the reporters, then you obviously can’t trust the reporting.”

THE JOURNAL STAR OF PEORIAPEORIA, ILL.“You can call us and we pick up the phone. You email us, and we reply. We cover the news to inform you, and we get both sides of an argument. We live by a code of ethics.”

THE ROCKFORD REGISTER STARROCKFORD, ILL.“No one likes to get complaints, but yours show us that you care about what we do and what we don’t.”

THE TRENTON SUNTRENTON, ILL.

THE FRANCESVILLE TRIBUNEFRANCESVILLE, IND.“Even as a small, family owned newspaper we have a platform to express our issue with the phrase ‘enemy of the people.’ That’s just not the case, we’ve never been and never will be. We are here to report the facts.”

THE NEWS AND TRIBUNEJEFFERSONVILLE, IND.“The fallout from Trump’s media blitzkrieg is being felt in newsrooms across America — including this one. The negative comments have reached our ears. Some dismiss us out of hand, as if we were more annoyance than a partner in the community. We remain committed, though, to delivering the news of the day — without sanitation — and information that but for our efforts would elude public scrutiny.”

THE KOKOMO TRIBUNEKOKOMO, IND.“People who don’t even read this newspaper claim we are biased, liars and ‘fake news.’ Yet we do this for you — our readers. We’ve done this since 1850, five years before the city of Kokomo was incorporated.”

THE COMMERCIAL REVIEWPORTLAND, IND.

THE SOUTH BEND TRIBUNESOUTH BEND, IND.“Tribune reporter Ted Booker has written numerous articles on the lead crisis in some South Bend neighborhoods. He has helped keep that issue at the top of this community’s agenda. The goal of keeping kids in our community healthy — to stop them from getting poisoned — is getting renewed attention from the city and the county Health Department, thanks in no small part to Ted’s work. Ted isn’t your enemy. ‘I represent the people,’ he says. ‘I’m asking questions on behalf of the public.’”

THE CONNERSVILLE NEWS-EXAMINER, THE COURIER-TIMES AND THE SHELBYVILLE NEWSINDIANA“If you believe, as we do, that having accurate information is the key to making good decisions, then you should subscribe to newspapers. As our teachers used to say in current events classes, read newspapers. Get your news from many different sources. But among the most trustworthy are your local newspapers.”

THE AMES TRIBUNEAMES, IOWA“If you’ve ever been in the Tribune newsroom, you have seen the quotes on our walls. They include the First Amendment. There is also a quote from Herbert Bayard Swope, the first recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Reporting in 1917 and who by many is considered to be the greatest journalist of his time: ‘The first duty of a newspaper is to be Accurate. If it be Accurate, it follows that it is Fair.’”

THE DES MOINES REGISTERDES MOINES, IOWA“The true enemies of the people — and democracy — are those who try to suffocate truth by vilifying and demonizing the messenger. The response to that cannot be silence.”

THE DEWITT OBSERVERDEWITT, IOWA

THE DYERSVILLE COMMERCIAL, THE MANCHESTER PRESS AND THE CASCADE PIONEERDYERSVILLE, MANCHESTER AND CASCADE, IOWA

THE STORM LAKE TIMESSTORM LAKE, IOWA

THE HILLSBORO FREE PRESSHILLSBORO, KAN.

THE TOPEKA CAPITAL-JOURNALTOPEKA, KAN.“We’re not separate from the public. We are the public. We live and work and play in Topeka and surrounding areas. We go to restaurants and send our children to school. We drive the same roads, see the same doctors. We’re not the enemy of the people. We are the people.”

THE TIMES-TRIBUNECORBIN, KY.“Our leaders — be they presidents of the nation or of the city council — do not get to choose to whom they are accountable. They are accountable to the citizenry. We intend to hold them to it. To do anything less is dereliction of our duty.”

THE GLASGOW DAILY TIMESGLASGOW, KY.

THE JOURNAL-TIMESGRAYSON, KY.

THE MOREHEAD NEWSMOREHEAD, KY.

THE RICHMOND REGISTERRICHMOND, KY.

THE COMMONWEALTH JOURNALSOMERSET, KY.“It's rough to get criticized because of a stigma created by a few. As a journalist, I can relate.”

THE KENNEBEC JOURNAL AUGUSTA, ME.

THE BANGOR DAILY NEWSBANGOR, ME.“Facts matter. But they don’t make themselves known. They don’t, actually, speak for themselves. They need people, such as journalists, or yourselves, to say them out loud.”

THE PORTLAND PRESS HERALD PORTLAND, ME.

THE MORNING SENTINELWATERVILLE, ME.

THE SUN JOURNALLEWISON, ME.“More recently, the Sun Journal’s examination into the inhumane transport of inmate Meghan Quinn from Florida to Maine convinced district attorneys across the state to cancel contracts with U.S. Prisoner Transport in favor of other transportation options that protect basic civil rights. That wouldn’t have happened without local journalism.”

THE STAR DEMOCRATEASTON, MD.

THE HUB CITY POSTWASHINGTON COUNTY, MD.

YOURARLINGTON.COMARLINGTON, MASS.“The First and the Second amendments are equally important in their contexts, but note which comes first -- protection of the press.”

ATHOL DAILY NEWSATHOL, MASS.

THE BOSTON BUSINESS JOURNALBOSTON, MASS.

THE BOSTON GLOBEBOSTON, MASS.“‘The liberty of the press is essential to the security of freedom,’ wrote John Adams. 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 DAILY FREE PRESSBOSTON, MASS.“Even when Trump’s term ends, the effect of his rhetoric is a stain that has bled through onto these hardworking people and will be difficult to scrub away.”

THE CAPE COD CHRONICLECHATHAM, MASS.

THE RECORDERGREENFIELD, MASS.

THE WHITMAN-HANSON EXPRESS AND THE PLYMPTON-HALIFAX EXPRESSHANSON, MASS.“We work together, however, in our unflinching support of the First Amendment and its guarantee of a free press as the best protection of our basic freedoms and status as a democratic republic. That’s why it is our First Amendment.”

THE CAPE COD TIMESHYANNIS, MASS.“The true enemy of any democracy is ignorance, and the only way to battle ignorance is through the acquisition of knowledge: a single set of well-researched, incontrovertible, unbiased facts.”

THE MARTHA’S VINEYARD TIMESMARTHA'S VINEYARD, MASS.

THE MILTON TIMESMILTON, MASS.

THE NANTUCKET INQUIRER AND THE MIRRORNANTUCKET, MASS.“Every Thursday morning, after the week’s paper is out on the newsstands, reporters and editors meet in the newsroom to plan coverage for the next issue. We strive to reflect a range of interests in the community. We look at the social fabric of our island and what is tearing at its edges. We take our mission very seriously. You should too.”

THE SUN CHRONICLENORTH ATTLEBORO, MASS.“This newspaper has felt the sting of the president’s disdain. A reporter covering a high school graduation was sitting with families in the grandstand and revealed her occupation. She was told, ‘Oh, we don’t like you.’ Like all responsible journalists, our reporter was there to gather facts and tell a story.”

THE DAILY HAMPSHIRE GAZETTENORTHAMPTON, MASS.“While that climate is unsettling, it has not deterred us from our job explaining often complex issues that challenge us, so that you, our readers, stay engaged with your communities and make a difference with your actions.”

THE BERKSHIRE EAGLEPITTSFIELD, MASS.“Mr. Trump's behavior has placed the American experiment in democracy in unprecedentedly perilous times, and a free press has become more central to our nation's survival than ever.”

THE PROVINCETOWN BANNERPROVINCETOWN, MASS.

THE REPUBLICANSPRINGFIELD, MASS.

THE SWELLESLEY REPORTWELLESLEY, MASS.“As you already know, nothing much happens in Wellesley. That's why you moved here and love it. That's why you read Swellesley, to have this knowledge confirmed and to bear witness to our daily documentation of, well, the dailiness of a quiet community.”

ESSEX MEDIA GROUPMASSACHUSETTS

THE CITIZEN CHRONICLEWORCESTER, MASS.“At the same time, journalists face mounting challenges, not limited to an increasing threat of violence, shrinking newsrooms and a climate of distrust in some parts.”

WBURBOSTON, MASS.

THE VINEYARD GAZETTEMARTHA'S VINEYARD, MASS.“Like routine medical care, community journalism creates a baseline of information that aids in the detection of deeper issues, and at its best, serves to prevent problems from developing. When the Gazette breaks a story, it is based on an intimate knowledge of the Island, its citizens and its institutions that has been built from the ground up.”

THE DEADLINE DETROITDETROIT, MICH.“The news media is NOT the enemy of the people. Ignorance is. So is abuse of authority. So is corruption. So are lies.”

THE DAILY GLOBEIRONWOOD, MICH.

THE ST. IGNACE NEWS AND THE MACKINAC ISLAND TOWN CRIERSAINT IGNACE AND MACKINAC ISLAND, MICH.“In some respects, we’re lucky that we serve an aging population of readers who learned about the fundamentals of democracy and freedom remote from the distractions of the Internet. Many of our readers know better than to believe the bitter messages about the press from our president and the occasional other politician, bureaucrat, or partisan.”

THE HOUGHTON LAKE RESORTERHOUGHTON LAKE, MICH.“America’s press is not without its criticism. However, there is no other industry in the United States that opens itself for criticism so regularly and so transparently.”

SWIFT COUNTY MONITOR-NEWSBENSON, MINN.“We live in a time when people can’t tell real news from fake news on the internet. They are easily misled, fooled by Russians posting information that incites hatreds and inflames passions in efforts to affect our elections. We live in a ‘post-truth’ world where facts that challenge our beliefs are dismissed.”

THE DULUTH NEWS TRIBUNEDULUTH, MINN.“Consider it a call to stop lumping together as ‘the media’ both legitimate news-gatherers and those whose practice of propaganda is meant to mislead and misinform for self-serving purposes.”

THE GRANT COUNTY HERALDELBOW LAKE, MINN.

THE MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNEMINNEAPOLIS, MINN.

BLUFF COUNTRY NEWSPAPER GROUPSPRING VALLEY, MINN.

THE COLUMBIAN-PROGRESSCOLUMBIA, MISS.“Oliver Emmerich, a conservative Mississippian who founded the company that has owned this newspaper for decades, understood more than most the danger of championing a free and independent press. During the tumultuous summer of 1963, the KKK burned crosses at his home and newspaper office, the Enterprise-Journal in McComb. The paper’s response was a simple yet courageous and effective one: Publish stories about that domestic terrorism on its front page, the very thing the attackers meant to prevent from happening.”

THE GREENWOOD COMMONWEALTHGREENWOOD, MISS.

THE KANSAS CITY STARKANSAS CITY, MO.“That 44 percent of Republicans polled recently said Trump should have the autocrat’s power to shut down news outlets shows how successful his efforts have already been.”

THE ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCHST. LOUIS, MO.“Trump is inflicting massive, and perhaps irreparable, damage to democracy with these attacks.”

THE BOZEMAN DAILY CHRONICLEBOZEMAN, MONT.“In our work as journalists, our first loyalty is to you. Our work is guided by a set of principles that demand objectivity, independence, open-mindedness and the pursuit of the truth.”

THE FALLS CITY JOURNALFALLS CITY, NEB.“We put in miles on snow covered roads and spend long hours on hot summer nights covered in bugs by the ball field to bring you a product we hope you like. We don’t do it because we like being away from our homes, we do it because it’s a labor of love and pride in our community and its members.”

THE OMAHA WORLD-HERALDOMAHA, NEB.“History has demonstrated, time and again, the importance of journalism in shining a light on government and explaining key issues confronting communities and our nation.”

THE SEWARD COUNTY INDEPENDENT, THE MILFORD TIMES AND THE WILBER REPUBLICANSEWARD, MILFORD AND WILBER, NEB.“On bitter cold January nights, we’re the people’s eyes and ears at town, village and school board meetings. We tell the stories of our communities, from the fun of a county fair to the despair a family faces when a loved one is killed.”

THE ARIZONA DAILY SUNFLAGSTAFF, ARIZ.

THE FORUMNEW HAMPSHIRE“As we begin work again on a major part of our mission, to provide content to help citizens make informed decisions about local issues, including elections, take a moment to consider the courage of our volunteers in this day and age, standing up for the journalistic standards that they hold very dear.”

THE BURLINGTON COUNTY TIMESBURLINGTON COUNTY, N.J.

THE JEFFERSON CHRONICLEJEFFERSON, N.J.“There have, sadly, been other periods in our history where violence was fomented by using vague generalities and coarse language in crowd situations: the women’s suffrage movement, the civil rights movement, Japanese-American internment, union membership, refusal to hire Irish, Italian, German workers – to name a few. In every case, the fomenters of animosity and the frenzied crowds turned out to be on the wrong side of history.”

THE SENTINEL OF GLOUCESTER COUNTYMALAGA, N.J.“The job of a reporter is not about glamour and makeup like you often see on television. The majority of reporters and journalists work part-time and make under $30,000 a year. They usually receive no additional benefits. To lump all reporters and journalists in the same boat as ‘the enemy of the people’ is certainly not an accurate statement.”

THE ATLANTIC CITY WEEKLYPLEASANTVILLE, N.J.“Our job as journalists, first and foremost, is to inform. And while we at Atlantic City Weekly are entertainment driven, that in no way means that we relish in or relay any gossip, rumors or innuendo.”

THE TRENTONIANTRENTON, N.J.

INSIDER NJNEW JERSEY

THE JERSEY JOURNALHUDSON COUNTY, N.J.

THE VALENCIA COUNTY NEWS-BULLETINBELEN, N.M.“We are not the enemy; We are the people”

THE UNION COUNTY LEADERCLAYTON, N.M.

THE FARMINGTON DAILY TIMESFARMINGTON, N.M.

THE LOS ALAMOS DAILY POSTLOS ALAMOS, N.M.

THE SANTA FE NEW MEXICANSANTA FE, N.M.

THE GUADALUPE COUNTY COMMUNICATORSANTA ROSA, N.M.

THE ALBUQUERQUE JOURNALALBUQUERQUE, N.M.“We will be a nation in peril until we, as citizens, come to terms with the fact that alternate facts are dangerous because they warp reality.”

THE ALTAMONT ENTERPRISEALTAMONT, N.Y.“Our stories, coupled with editorials, have moved our readers and brought about change for the good: a girl sodomized by her father got her day in court, toxic wastes were removed from an old Army dump, skewed tax rolls were righted, a big-box plan was thwarted — all because our readers were empowered with knowledge.”

THE GARDEN CITY NEWSGARDEN CITY, N.Y.

THE ISLIP BULLETIN, THE LONG ISLAND ADVANCE AND SUFFOLK COUNTY NEWSLONG ISLAND, N.Y.

THE NORTH SHORE NEWS GROUPLONG ISLAND, N.Y.

JOHNSON NEWSPAPER CORP.NORTHERN NEW YORK, N.Y.“The president wants his supporters to conclude that what they’re learning from media outlets isn’t real. Don’t trust your eyes and ears, he tells them: ‘Believe me!’ Well, someone who has Mr. Trump’s history of lying can’t be taken at his word on this.”

THE OBSERVERNORTHPORT, N.Y.

THE CHRONICLE-EXPRESSPENN YAN, N.Y.“Our work is a labor of love because we love our country and believe we are playing a vital role in our democracy.”

EXAMINER MEDIAPUTNAM AND WESTCHESTER COUNTIES, N.Y.“Citizens from across the country, of all political stripes, must stand against the systematic attacks on journalism and journalists. Our democracy’s ability to breathe healthily depends on it.”

THE QUEENS COURIER AND THE RIDGEWOOD TIMESQUEENS, N.Y.“Who will bring attention to the problems we experience every day if the press isn’t there to report it? Who will hold government accountable for inaction, corruption and poor decisions if the press isn’t there to shed light on them?”

THE ROCHESTER CITY NEWSPAPERROCHESTER, N.Y.

THE SAG HARBOR EXPRESSSAG HARBOR, N.Y.“In community journalism, the work we do is a labor of love because we are working in the place we live, the place we raise our children; but, more importantly, because we understand we play a vital role in our democracy.”

THE SMITHTOWN NEWSSMITHTOWN, N.Y.

THE JOURNAL NEWSWHITE PLAINS, N.Y.“We can only hope that officials across the Lower Hudson Valley, some of whom have prickly relations with the media, will not decide to take the easy way out by tarring journalists as enemies.”

EL DIARIO, LA OPINIÓN, LA RAZA, LA PRENSANEW YORK“Los latinoamericanos conocen bien en carne propia lo que significa la erosión del periodismo, la intimidación a los reporteros, la autocensura, la ambición desmedida de la casa presidencial. Se dice que en Estados Unidos ‘esas no ocurren,’ aunque es fácil identificar que el problema es serio cuando el Presidente declara que los medios de comunicación son el ‘enemigo del pueblo.’”

THE COMMITTEE TO PROTECT JOURNALISTSNEW YORK“Press freedom is enshrined in the First Amendment and is the bedrock of American democracy. What is less understood is that adherence to these principles has a profound impact on press freedom and the rights of journalists all over the world. When American leaders stand up for a free press, they embolden courageous journalists who put their lives and liberty on the line to report the news. And when American leaders fall short, they embolden the autocrats who seek to repress those journalists.”

THE SOUTHAMPTON PRESS AND THE EAST HAMPTON PRESSNEW YORK“Being labeled 'the enemy of the American people,' as President Trump has called us repeatedly, isn’t hurtful. We’re tougher than that. But journalists universally worry about the damage it does not just to our industry but to democracy itself.”

THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWSNEW YORK, N.Y.“And no doubt those who love to paint the press as a groupthinking cabal will cite the fact that many editorial boards echoed one another on the same day as proof they were right all along. So be it. You know what they say about desperate times.”

THE HIGHLANDS CURRENTHUDSON VALLEY, N.Y.“Regardless of the criticism thrown our way (which we print!), we strive to get it right and keep you informed and keep an eye on the elected officials who are spending our money. Thousands of papers do the same around the country. They are not an enemy, or a friend. They are faulty, aggravating, informative, inspirational tools of democracy. Without them, we’re headed in a dangerous direction.”

THE GASTON GAZETTEGASTONIA, N.C.“When objective news sources are drowned out, the people are left with sycophants and hucksters who ingratiate themselves and mislead. Then democracy suffers. An ignorant people is easy to oppress and exploit.”

TRIAD CITY BEATGREENSBORO, N.C.

THE STAR NEWSWILMINGTON, N.C.“Yes, members of the press occasionally get facts wrong. When they do, they are held accountable by their news organizations as well as others in the industry, and far more often than not, the error is acknowledged in the form of a timely correction. The same cannot be said about this president.”

THE BISMARCK TRIBUNEBISMARCK, N.D.“During the Dakota Access Pipeline protests the Tribune encountered harsh criticism from all sides. It wasn’t unusual for a story to be attacked by both sides as unfair, and reporters and photographers took a lot of verbal abuse.”

THE GRIGGS COUNTY COURIERCOOPERSTOWN, N.D.

THE JOURNAL AND THE TIOGA TRIBUNECROSBY AND TIOGA, N.D.“Rather than entertaining the notion of silencing any opposition, citizens need now, more than ever, to challenge themselves to hear multiple views, not take the word of those attempting to quash critical thinking.”

THE STEELE COUNTY PRESSFINLEY, N.D.

THE HAZEN STARGARRISON, N.D.“Asking hard questions is not fake news. Challenging the basic assumptions of the political right and left is not fake news. Looking at the broader issues that lie beneath the day-to-day skirmishes of our national dialogue is not fake news.”

THE GRAND FORKS HERALDGRAND FORKS, N.D.“Newspapers are the first to admit they are not perfect, but on all levels we are serious about what we see as our core roles: documenting the daily and weekly history of our towns and serving as watchdogs to protect the public’s interest.”

THE RANSOM COUNTY GAZETTE AND THE SARGENT COUNTY TELLERRANSOM AND SARGENT COUNTIES, N.D.

THE MOUNTRAIL COUNTY PROMOTERSTANLEY, N.D.“North Dakota newspapers are not ‘fake news.’ We are documenting the stories and histories of our towns.”

STEELE OZONE AND KIDDER COUNTY PRESSSTEELE, N.D.

THE LEADER-NEWSWASHBURN, N.D.“Our bias is toward the betterment of the city. Our agenda is keeping the public informed and empowered. Our allegiance is to the people in the communities we serve. In everything this paper does, even when it doesn’t seem that way, we are by your side.”

THE STANDARDWESTHOPE, N.D.

THE MCCLUSKY GAZETTENORTH DAKOTA

THE JAMESTOWN SUNJAMESTOWN, N.D.

THE AKRON BEACON JOURNALAKRON, OHIO

THE ATHENS NEWSATHENS, OHIO“And it does have a trickle-down effect. Increasingly when a local public figure responds to a damaging news report, rather than an old-fashioned explanation or denial, he or she will go immediately on the attack...”

THE CHAGRIN VALLEY TIMESCHAGRIN FALLS, OHIO“New businesses in town, car accidents, election results, high school sports all are examples of real news. When someone calls the news ‘fake’ simply because they don’t like what they read, they are trampling on your First Amendment rights.”

CINCINNATI CITYBEATCINCINNATI, OHIO

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCHCOLUMBUS, OHIO“Being open to legitimate criticism and being committed to publishing verifiable facts are keys to preserving trust in a free and fair press. We aren’t perfect, and when we make errors, we correct them.”

THE CHRONICLE-TELEGRAMELYRIA, OHIO“Here in Lorain County, The Chronicle-Telegram’s reporters keep watch on school boards, police officers, judges, government workers, politicians and others who hold the public trust.”

THE WAPAKONETA DAILY NEWSWAPAKONETA, OHIO

THE FAYETTE ADVOCATEWASHINGTON COURT HOUSE, OHIO

YELLOW SPRINGS NEWSYELLOW SPRINGS, OHIO“At a time when we should be working with our communities to reform media, we find ourselves having to defend the very idea of a free press. Instead of using this space for the conversation about how to expand newsroom diversity when 17 percent of newsroom employees are minority journalists, we are trying to stave off a challenge to our existence.”

TULSA WORLDTULSA, OKLA.

THE CANNON BEACH GAZETTECANNON BEACH, ORE.

EUGENE WEEKLYEUGENE, ORE.

SIUSLAW NEWSFLORENCE, ORE.

THE HILLSBORO TRIBUNE AND THE NEWS-TIMESHILLSBORO AND FOREST GROVE, ORE.“The news isn't 'fake' just because you see things differently.”

THE BEAVER COUNTY TIMES AND THE ELLWOOD CITY LEDGERBEAVER AND LAWRENCE COUNTY, PA.“Journalists are the eyes, ears and voice of the people we serve. We sit at the school board meetings so you know who the next principal will be. We attend the town council meetings so you know which company is building in your backyard.”

THE BUCKS COUNTY COURIER TIMES AND THE INTELLIGENCERBUCKS COUNTY, PA.

THE ELIZABETHTOWN ADVOCATEELIZABETHTOWN, PA.“If these threats of violence escalate to a point where journalists are afraid to do their job of holding government accountable, the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution will be as meaningless as Article 125 of the Soviet Constitution of 1936.”

THE ERIE TIMES NEWSERIE, PA.

LNP LANCASTERONLINELANCASTER, PA.

THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRERPHILADELPHIA, PA.“As the birthplace of our democracy, Philadelphia was also one of the birthplaces of a free press, and the Inquirer, born not long after the country’s own birth, proudly continues that legacy.”

THE TIMES-TRIBUNESCRANTON, PA.

THE DAILY ITEMSUNBURY, PA.“When a crane collapses and blocks a major road like Route 15, as happened Tuesday night, we are there to tell you what happened, why it happend and how long it will be before it is fixed.”

THE DELAWARE COUNTY DAILY TIMESSWARTHMORE, PA.“Opinions are not ‘fake news.’ The editorials and opeds we write and publish are just that – opinion. We sometimes endorse candidates based on the information we have and who we think will best serve our community. You may agree with us, or you may not. That’s OK. Our job is to provide you with the facts so you can form your own opinion and make your own informed decisions.”

EL NUEVO DÍAPUERTO RICO“Buscar reacciones y refutar datos incorrectos no convierten las noticias en mentiras.”

NEWPORT THIS WEEKNEWPORT, R.I.

THE PROVIDENCE JOURNALPROVIDENCE, R.I.“Without this window into the workings of government, our democratic republic would cease to work, leaving elected leaders without a needed check on their power.”

THE ANDERSON OBSERVERANDERSON COUNTY, S.C.

THE FREEMAN COURIERFREEMAN, S.D.“A community conversation, whether it’s about events happening in our community or it’s about a position voiced in an editorial, column or letter, is at the heart of how we live and work together. Rhetoric diminishing that process — regardless of where is comes from — should concern every one of us, whether in Freeman, or Sioux Falls, or St. Louis or New York.”

THE RAPID CITY JOURNALRAPID CITY, S.D.

THE YANKTON COUNTY OBSERVERYANKTON, S.D.

THE OAKRIDGEROAK RIDGE, TENN.

THE AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMANAUSTIN, TEX.“It’s the job of Statesman reporters to bring you articles that may make you uncomfortable.”

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWSDALLAS, TEX.“We see this as dangerous for the simple reason that by diminishing the press, those who hold high office gain a greater ability to govern without the steadying force of public scrutiny. That’s a recipe not for empowering this president, but rather for ensuring that our leaders in Washington fall out of touch with the people and decide that they know better than the people they seek to govern.”

THE DENTON RECORD-CHRONICLEDENTON, TEX.“But you also know we are fulfilling our responsibility when we ask the tough, probing questions of the candidate you supported, when we seek the records documenting the operation of the agency in which you serve, when we continue to call those elected leaders who never pick up the phone.”

THE HOUSTON CHRONICLEHOUSTON, TEX.“Somewhere in that messy process of competitive newsgathering, a consensus arises — a truth derived from reporting, interviews and observation — not from a corporate statement or government mouthpiece.”

THE HAYS FREE PRESS AND THE NEWS-DISPATCHKYLE AND DRIPPING SPRINGS, TEX.“Government spokespersons from all entities try to give their side of the story; that’s what they are paid to do. But that is only one side of the story, and giving them free rein without questioning is not good for our country – or our freedom.”

THE LONGVIEW NEWS-JOURNALLONGVIEW, TEX.

THE SAN ANTONIO EXPRESSSAN ANTONIO, TEX.

THE GUARDIAN LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM“ 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.”

THE MORGAN COUNTY NEWSMORGAN, UTAH

THE COMMONSBRATTLEBORO, VT.“The biggest injustice of Trump’s smear of the press presumes that a Trump supporter cannot and will not think critically and fairly about their news. The president’s supporters deserve to be held to a higher standard.”

THE HARDWICK GAZETTEHARDWICK, VT.

THE DEERFIELD VALLEY NEWSWILMINGTON, VT.“Back door deals, while thought to be the vehicle of big-city robber barons and Tammany Hall, occur at all levels of government and without coverage may never see the light of day.”

THE BENNINGTON BANNER, THE BRATTLEBORO REFORMER, THE MANCHESTER JOURNALVERMONT“How essential is a free press to Vermont? So essential that when Vermont's founding fathers convened upstairs at Elijah West's Windsor Tavern in July of 1777 to agree to a Constitution for the brand-new Vermont Republic, they specifically protected it by name.”

THE CULPEPER TIMESCULPEPER, VA.

THE PROGRESS-INDEXPETERSBURG, VA.

THE RAPPAHANNOCK NEWSWASHINGTON, VA.

INSIDENOVA.COMVIRGINIA

THE NORTHERN LIGHTBLAINE, WASH.

WASHINGTON NEWSPAPER PUBLISHERS ASSOCIATIONPORT TOWNSEND, WASH.“Our free press supports the rights of people expressing every imaginable political viewpoint. It’s not fake. It is very real and it’s time our President recognized and supported this very basic and central concept of our democracy.”

REAL CHANGE NEWSSEATTLE, WASH.“There has never been a more critical time to engage in free speech. With our words, our time, our money, and our bodies in the streets.”

THE COURIER SENTINELCORNELL, WIS.

THE DODGEVILLE CHRONICLEDODGEVILLE, WIS.

THE EAU CLAIRE LEADER-TELEGRAMEAU CLAIRE, WIS.“A great benefit of the internet and social media is that a wealth of information is only a mouse click or swipe away. But that also has meant a proliferation of news sources, not all of which are legitimate. Shouting the loudest does not make one accurate.”

THE CRAWFORD COUNTY INDEPENDENTGAYS MILLS, WIS.

KENOSHA NEWSKENOSHA, WIS.“Presenting news that you disagree with is not 'fake news.' We work hard to inform, serving as watchdogs of government and institutions, while also celebrating the good in the community. This has been going on for decades.”

LAKE GENEVA REGIONAL NEWSLAKE GENEVA, WIS.

THE PLYMOUTH REVIEWPLYMOUTH, WIS.“Not long ago we received a letter, which said everything in our newspaper was ‘biased’. The letter writer didn’t say what bothered them so to respond was like trying to respond to an archer who fires an arrow from cover.”

THE RIPON COMMONWEALTH PRESSRIPON, WIS.“Power corrupts even the best leaders. That’s why James Madison realized government needed independent voices to check its worst instincts.”

THE WISCONSIN GAZETTESHOREWOOD, WIS.

THE TOMAHAWK LEADERTOMAHAWK, WIS.

THE FORWARD“American Jews, like all other minorities, have a special stake in maintaining an independent press, to ensure that our voices are heard — at any time, in any language.”

THE NEW YORKER“Because Trump knows little about policy or history, it is tempting to imagine that he knows nothing at all. This is a mistake. He knows well that the American press is hardly popular and, in many ways, is on the defensive.”

THE ATLANTIC“We know where attacks on the media can lead. When politicians have questioned the rights and legitimacy of the press, violence has frequently followed.”

NIEMAN LAB“Given the threat to democracy and the rise of autocracy around the world, now is the time to support, not decry, legitimate journalism and to reaffirm our commitment to free speech and a free press.”

THE LAS VEGAS SUNLAS VEGAS, NEV.“The outcome is that Americans are no longer just disagreeing over how to interpret facts, they’re disagreeing over what is fact. This is dangerous, because agreement on facts is part of a society’s connective tissue, and for Trump to characterize facts as tribal myths will inevitably tear the nation apart.”