Today, newspapers across the nation are speaking out in their opinion sections against the assault by President Trump on this country’s free-press traditions, enshrined in the Bill of Rights since it was ratified in 1791. We share their view that this broadly indiscriminate assault by the president against all media, including community news organizations such as The Sentinel, is reckless and dangerous.
Certainly, it is dangerous for its potential to undermine one of the bedrock freedoms on which this country was founded and has thrived. And its potential danger to responsible journalists doing their jobs can be seen, even locally, in T-shirts reading: “Rope. Tree. Journalist. SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED.”
Here at The Sentinel, facts and their sourcing are what we build every story upon. They are what drive us when we report, for instance, on the opioid crisis and other local health and welfare matters, crime, government action, good news about our neighbors and everything we cover. Though we work hard to be right 100 percent of the time, sometimes we’re not — a very human trait we share with even the president. And when we’re wrong, unlike the president, we say so, as quickly as possible.
We believe that Americans are smart, shrewd and circumspect, and that they will do what it takes to make thoughtful, informed decisions based on those qualities and their own information filters. Thus, the work we do is rooted in the public’s right and interest. Of those rights, nothing outweighs knowing what our public and elected officials are doing, from local officials to the president.
We strive to enlighten public discourse on topics of civic consequence; to ask tough questions on your behalf, following your hard-earned tax dollars and holding up for public accountability those in power who serve the citizenry; to be human and honest, aware that our credibility, our ethics and our trustworthiness are and should be open to scrutiny; and to be open and, in many instances, explain our actions or positions.
We take that work seriously, but know that it comes with criticism, some of it fair.
But scum? A stain? An enemy of the people?
In news circles, that’s as fake and far from the truth as it gets.