Pelham Examiner

Filed under Opinions & Ideas

Time to stand up for a free press; we’re not the enemy

Back to Article
Back to Article

Time to stand up for a free press; we’re not the enemy

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Enough already.

The last couple of years have been an unending barrage against the freedom of the press and the practitioners of this noble trade.

From being called “liars,” “fake,” and “sick” by irate politicians to enduring capricious and punitive tariffs that are an existential threat to newspapers, the landscape for journalists today may be as inhospitable as it has ever been in the 242-year history of this great union of ours.

All this while the public at large seems unable to break free of the social media echo chamber. We retreat there to endlessly bicker with those who don’t agree, or to bolster the confidence of our own positions by seeking solace from those who do.

We’ve devolved into a nation of people who simply don’t want to hear it.

And that’s incredibly dangerous.

The bipartisan testimony of twenty members of Congress last month before the International Trade Commission in opposition to tariffs on Canadian imported newsprint is a good indicator that a lot of talk about journalists being “enemies of the people” is utter hogwash. These men and women know the importance of community newspapers and their imperiled status in modern culture where too many marketers prefer digital analytics and too many readers prefer daily affirmation.

They know the men and women who work at the local paper are most definitely not the enemy—nor the problem.

But in a society where talk of the wicked media is hurled relentlessly on Twitter or cable “news” channels, all of us who take part in the honorable, constitutionally protected trade of reporting news and ferreting truth get amalgamated into a cynical act of political theater that’s threatening to the very fabric of democracy.

And that’s what this is really about.

We’re arguing over political philosophies and cultural divides—not about whether news is biased. I bet you a week’s pay and a dozen doughnuts the people who use the argument that news is “fake” don’t any more believe that than they think the Space Force is coming soon to a quadrant near us.

But the damage is being done. We as a nation are beginning to give a collective shoulder shrug to the fundamental freedoms in the Bill of Rights.

And we’ve got to snap out of it.

We’ve got to accept that not all news is happy or affirming. We’re not always going to get what we want. I vaguely remember being taught that as a preschooler.

Aaron Blake, a correspondent for The Washington Post, asked in a recent column if the media should go to war with the President.

“Trump seems to want a war with his ‘enemy,”‘ Blake wrote. “But should the media oblige him? And if it doesn’t, isn’t it unilaterally disarming?”

No, we should not go to war with the President. But it’s long past time to end the navel gazing and stand up for what we do. It’s our job to provide the best obtainable version of the truth and to champion the freedoms of the First Amendment.

Thomas Jefferson—who had a notably tempestuous relationship with the press—was a president who still often rose to defend it.

He once wrote while serving in Paris as Minister to France: “The people are the only censors of their governors, and even their errors will tend to keep them true to the principles of their Institution…”

“Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them.”

If we’re unwilling to accept news that upsets us, or if we’re indifferent to differing views simply because we don’t want to deal with them, we’re essentially giving up on the notion we can ever truly be “one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

I know it’s ironic, but l don’t believe we’ve given up because I don’t want to believe it.

Editor’s note: It was National Newspaper Week Oct. 7-13. But the Pelham Examiner believes in newspapers every week. This commentary was provided by the New York Press Association and written by Layne Bruce, executive director of the Mississippi Press Association.

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Left
  • Time to stand up for a free press; we’re not the enemy

    Opinions & Ideas

    Walking out of the climate silence

  • Time to stand up for a free press; we’re not the enemy

    Opinions & Ideas

    Pelham students like to walkout, but does it do anything?

  • Time to stand up for a free press; we’re not the enemy

    Opinions & Ideas

    Why local elections should not be popularity contests

  • Time to stand up for a free press; we’re not the enemy

    Opinions & Ideas

    Pelham Mayor Volpe addresses development, zoning and projects using municipal land

  • Time to stand up for a free press; we’re not the enemy

    Opinions & Ideas

    In our rapidly changing world, antique stores have been forgotten as places that tell stories of the past

  • Time to stand up for a free press; we’re not the enemy

    Opinions & Ideas

    Preservation society warns ‘maelstrom’ of development could boost Pelham population by 10%

  • Time to stand up for a free press; we’re not the enemy

    From Where I Stand

    A call for climate revolution in Pelham

  • Time to stand up for a free press; we’re not the enemy

    From Where I Stand

    One year ago today

  • Time to stand up for a free press; we’re not the enemy

    Opinions & Ideas

    With teen use of vaping growing, so is evidence of its serious health risks

  • Time to stand up for a free press; we’re not the enemy

    Opinions & Ideas

    Charlotte Cares about Dream Big Ghana

Navigate Right
Time to stand up for a free press; we’re not the enemy