Major papers in Providence, Fall River, and New Bedford are among hundreds of outlets that published editorials this week criticizing President Donald Trump's repeated verbal attacks on the media.
The editorials were part of a coordinated campaign organized by The Boston Globe, which accused President Trump of a "sustained assault on the free press." Jack Spillane, editorial page editor for The New Bedford Standard-Times, said Trump’s use of the phrase “enemy of the people” to describe the press is what made him want to participate in the campaign.
“I don’t think it’s healthy for the country to be talking about fellow citizens as enemies of the people. The thing about democracy and a free press is that people can disagree and be reasonable about it,” he said.
Spillane said he has seen an impact from the president's language in letters and comments he receives from readers.
“Quite personal, quite negative on both sides, almost apocalyptic in their rhetoric sometimes," said Spillane. "And that’s even bled over to people talking about other people they know in the community in a very judgmental tone."
The New Bedford editorial combined elements from op-eds published in The Cape Cod Times and The Worcester Telegram & Gazette, which are owned by the same parent company, GateHouse Media. At least two other GateHouse papers in the area, The Providence Journal and The Fall River Herald, also penned op-eds as part of the Globe campaign.