Free Press = Freedom

These attacks on the free press by our current president are disgusting, deviant, and devious.

This is an industry that is devoted solely to finding and reporting the TRUTH. For any real journalist (and I am aware that there are, shall we call them “fake” journalists or “yellow” journalists as they’ve been known in the past, whose aim is propaganda or money), but for any real journalist, it’s not a job; it’s a crusade. It’s a calling, frequently, a thankless one, to be the earpiece for people who simply don’t have the time or resources to unearth the truth on their own (that would be most of us). You may not like the truth they report, but that doesn’t make it any less the truth, and it certainly doesn’t make them dishonest.

I have a BA degree in journalism. I was trained as a journalist and have at times in my career, worked as a journalist. I can tell you, unequivocally, that the absolute foundation, the requirement, for my work as a journalist was always THE TRUTH. In college, our journalism professors drilled into us the importance, the sanctity, of reporting “just the facts.” Libel law was an entire semester – dictating the many ways that the truth can be construed to be incorrect. We learned it well, or failed to earn our degree.

A journalist spends hours researching facts, history, finding at least two other sources who will corroborate a statement. Every conceivable effort is made to ensure that reports are accurate. If you think that is an easy job, I challenge you to try it for even a day and see if you can do better. See if you can withstand the criticism of those who disagree with your findings.

Anyone who works for a major newspaper or network, is a real journalist. These people have worked hard to earn their position. So to all these devoted journalists, who have risen through their ranks, gotten their clearance and their press cards, worked far in excess of 40 or 50 or 60 hours a week – because the news never stops – to call them dishonest, “very dishonest,” to their faces, to disrespect and demean the vital work they do – is simply unbelievable. And yet our new president does it every chance he can.

Without the media and the free press, there is no democracy. It is, in effect, the lynchpin that holds our republic together by holding it accountable to the truth. This is the sole purpose of a free press. If you don’t like the media or the free press, then try moving to a country where they truly don’t have it – try North Korea or China or Russia – and see how you like the way the government runs there.

Those reporters you see in the White House press room, the ones who are enduring the disdain and personal attacks of the man who is supposed to be the leader of the free world – they are not dishonest, they are not liars, they are not fake news. They are the guardians of the truth in our democracy, and we desperately need them to do the jobs they are doing. Otherwise, we’re no better than those other countries where the press is silenced and the truth is eschewed.

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