As tributes to the Queen of Soul rippled across the country and around the world Thursday morning, over 400 US newspaper editorial boards and media outlets joined a call from the Boston Globe to demand their own R-E-S-P-E-C-T. It was as if Aretha Franklin returned to the activist days of her youth and chose to pass on the very day the press had decided to deliver a rare, unified message to the American public: we are not your enemy, we are your voice.
Like many I am disgusted with President’s Trump repeated, relentless attacks on the press. They were strong, primal rallying cries during his freewheeling (unethical, immoral ?) campaign, and they have unfortunately continued unabated during his presidency.
Only a month into his administration, Trump tweeted that the press were “an enemy of the American people” citing several news organization by name. He quickly deleted the tweet, made an edit of adding a few more news outlets, then posted it again. The ‘enemy of the American people’ descriptor was not edited or removed:
Over 400 newspapers large and small from across the United State and its Territories responded, advocating for a #FreePress and decrying the ‘enemy of the people’ descriptor, including at least one editorial board that endorsed Trump during the campaign.
While I have zero expectation these attacks will cease – Trump was at it again during a recent Pennsylvania campaign rally for GOP Senatorial candidate Lou Barletta – the Globe hopes to elevate the collective voice of the press and remind Americans that a free press is a cornerstone of our democracy, enshrined in the First Amendment.
Just as Aretha used her incredible voice and talent to help create a soundtrack for the civil rights movement 50 years ago, I applaud those who kneel, march, protest, and yes, tweet against the abhorrent statements and actions of the current administration and its agitator in chief.