Newspapers across the country, including the San Diego Union-Tribune, joined together in support of a free and fair press.
As many as 350 newspapers published editorials in a direct response to anti-media rhetoric from President Donald Trump.
Editors say it was a coordinated effort to push back against cries of “fake news,” and suggestions from President Trump that journalists are “enemies of the American people.” The participating newspapers responded to a call from the Boston Globe for a coordinated effort to push back against the rhetoric.
“We want our audience to know that we take journalism very seriously. That we're not going to stand for someone calling us fake news when we're not, and here's why we're not fake news,” said Matthew Hall, Opinion and Editorial Editor of the San Diego Union-Tribune.
The U-T’s editorial is titled "How We Restore Faith In Journalism.” Hall said the opinion piece was not an attack on the president's policies, but rather his rhetoric. To help restore trust, the U-T has launched a separate effort to explain its newsgathering process.
“How we use anonymous sources, how we edit photos or videos, the types of wire service reports we include. How we strive to be fair, accurate and inclusive in our reports every day,” said Hall, describing the effort.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the president denounced the national effort and continued to pour on the rhetoric in a tweet.
"The Fake news media is the opposition party. It is very bad for our great country but we are winning,” wrote President Trump.
He later tweeted, "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.”
In San Diego, visitors at Balboa Park had mixed reaction to the editorials and how the president criticizes the news media.
“I don't think they're the enemy of the people, but I do believe they have a tendency to put more of his negative ahead of the positive,” said Jim Nelson.
Others felt the editorials would not change opinion.
“Not much, because if they support Trump, they're anti-media anyway. Do what you want, it's not going to change them,” said Fred Walker.
Several major publications, including the Los Angele Times, chose not to join the national editorial effort. They were concerned it might play into the hands of President Trump and his supporters who think the media already shows a bias against the administration.