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Why we didn’t join in

On Thursday, hundreds of newspapers across the country joined in a coordinated editorial campaign defending the freedom of the press and denouncing President Donald Trump’s attacks on the press as “the enemy of the people.” The Daily Tidings and the Mail Tribune didn’t participate. Here’s why.

We take a back seat to no one in standing up for the First Amendment, for holding government accountable, for reporting the news, good or bad, without fear or favor. But we are, first and foremost, local, community newspapers. Our reporting staffs do not cover the White House. Our focus is on city, county and state government.

Our editorial positions are determined by us, and us alone. As important as a free press is, so is the independence of each editorial voice.

Make no mistake: Trump’s attacks on the media are dangerous, and un-American. It’s important that newspapers make that clear. But an orchestrated campaign is not the most effective way to do it.

Also on Thursday, the U.S. Senate, by unanimous consent, passed a resolution declaring that the Senate “affirms that the press is not the enemy of the people ... and views efforts to systematically undermine the credibility of the press as an attack on the democratic institutions of the United States.”

This is what we have come to, 19 months into this administration: The Senate of the United States felt compelled to defend a free press against attacks from the president of the United States. That says more than any number of newspaper editorials could.