Today, the Times Record joins with more than 125 newspapers across the country in calling attention to news media being labeled an "enemy of the people" by the current presidential administration. We believe it's important to highlight the dangers of fanning the flames of distrust toward outlets whose sole purpose is to bring you important information in a timely manner.
In recent months, members of the press throughout the country have individually and collectively been subject to an attack almost unprecedented in modern American politics. President Donald Trump has consistently railed against news-gathering organizations and has replaced legitimate discussion with diatribe, facts with falsehoods and reason with rage.
We understand fake news is out there, which makes it more important than ever for legitimate news sources to defend themselves against unfair labels and challenges from those who make important decisions that affect us all, including our president.
Our job is to get the news to you, the readers, and we take that job seriously. Trust is a vital part of that relationship, and we strive every day to maintain that. We make mistakes because we're human, not because we are attempting to sway opinion one way or another. As journalists, our duty is to provide the information you need to make informed choices. We hold our leaders accountable by attending their meetings, asking questions and researching the truth.
But some see publishing the truth as being an attack on leaders, whether local, state or national. Nothing could be further from the truth. What we publish is driven by what you need to know and what you want to read. Holding leaders accountable for their actions and decisions is part of that, although those who attack the media seem to disagree. We believe that if you're going to hold office, you have to answer to those who put you there. The media's role is to make sure those people are informed and stay that way.
For many of us in the press, the time period following President Trump's election has marked a new low point in the relationship between the media and those we work to serve every day. The president has on many occasions declared the press “the enemy of the people,” a battle cry taken up by many who support him. He also routinely mislabels anything that contradicts his world view as “fake,” regardless of the sources that back it up. He went a step further during a rally this month, saying of the press: “They don’t report it. They only make up stories.”
We take exception to the president's comments. True, the advent of the internet has created challenges for the industry, but the vast majority of journalists have worked diligently and faithfully in pursuit of nothing other than the truth.
The press is not the enemy of the people. We are people who, like you, have a stake in our communities. We are your neighbors. We are people who live and work in the same towns as you. Like you, we send our children to local schools. We struggle to pay our bills. We shop in local businesses. And like you, we care deeply about what happens locally, nationally and internationally.
No, the American press is not the enemy of the people, nor is Donald Trump. The true enemy of any democracy is ignorance, and the only way to battle ignorance is through the acquisition of knowledge: a single set of well-researched, incontrovertible, unbiased facts. Politicians come and go, but the people and the press endure. Readers and viewers have a right and a responsibility to hold the press to a high standard. We welcome that scrutiny and look forward to continuing to provide you with the facts.