In June, the Post-Gazette fired long-time editorial cartoonist Rob Rogers. Burris said Rogers had refused to take editing direction, while Rogers said he had been fired for mocking the president too often. Block told Politico that Rogers was “obsessed with Trump.”
A month later, when The Boston Globe called on newspapers across the country to write editorials supporting press freedoms, both the Post-Gazette and the Trib participated in their own ways. The Post-Gazette defended freedoms of press, speech and conscience — and then added that the media can be Trump’s enemy.
“What the president really means, perhaps, is that the current press in the U.S., often, is his enemy,” the Post-Gazette’s editorial said. “And he is right about that. Much of the press has been at war with Mr. Trump since his first day in office. In fact, some members of the press have acted as part of Mr. Trump’s political opposition, or the resistance. Some have agitated for the end of his time in office since that first day.”
The Trib that day ran a statement: from the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association: “Journalists are NOT the enemy of the people. We are the people. We live in the communities we cover and, just like everyone else, want those communities to succeed.”
The newspapers’ shifting political perspectives fit the times: Many people feel angry, political traditions have been shattered, charges of fake news and foreign election meddling fill the headlines.
Now more than ever, Falce said, newspapers need to engage in a conversation with their readers — and part of that means realizing that the public rarely agrees on anything.
“Our readers are not a hive mind,” she said, “and we can’t say that we are talking to all of our readers if we’re only talking to one edge of them.”