Hundreds of newspapers nationwide banded together on Wednesday to publish concurrent editorials attacking President Donald Trump in retaliation for his attitude toward the press. One paper, the Los Angeles Times, stood firm in its decision not to participate in the collusion spearheaded by the Boston Globe.
Instead, the LA Times published an article explaining their reasons for abstaining. But despite all claims to the contrary, hidden in that explanation was a thinly-veiled anti-Trump editorial.
The article, titled “The Los Angeles Times is not participating in today’s nationwide editorial page protest against Trump’s attacks on the press. Here’s why,” leads with the editorial board’s decision not to publish an anti-Trump editorial about the president and the press.
But the second paragraph — and most of the remainder of the article — is devoted to criticism of the Trump administration’s handling of the press.
This is not because we don’t believe that President Trump has been engaged in a cynical, demagogic and unfair assault on our industry. He has, and we have written about it on numerous occasions. As early as April 2017, we wrote this as part of a full-page editorial on “Trump’s War on Journalism”:“Trump’s strategy is pretty clear: By branding reporters as liars, he apparently hopes to discredit, disrupt or bully into silence anyone who challenges his version of reality. By undermining trust in news organizations and delegitimizing journalism and muddling the facts so that Americans no longer know who to believe, he can deny and distract and help push his administration’s far-fetched storyline.”
We still believe that. Nevertheless, the editorial board decided not to write about the subject on this particular Thursday because we cherish our independence.
The article goes on to claim that the LA Times is not beholden to other papers for either their editorial decisions or their schedules, and suggests that papers banding together to publish simultaneous criticisms play into the president’s hands. “The idea of joining together to protest him seems almost to encourage that kind of conspiracy thinking by the president and his loyalists,” it concludes. “Why give them ammunition to scream about ‘collusion’?”
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