“How we react to the tragedy of one small person accurately reflects our attitude towards a whole nationality, and increasing the numbers doesn’t change much.” Anna Politkovskaya, Russian journalist, murdered in 2006
Do some journalists report from a political slant? Yes. Do some journalists wallow in the most gruesome, salacious types of news for ratings? Yes. Are there some journalists who report fake news? Yes. Do these bad actors mean America would be better off without a free press? Absolutely not.
When it comes to democracy, no news is bad news. That is why every villain despises journalists — sometimes to death. Unvarnished truth has a way of inciting the people. And, an incited citizenry is the biggest danger any villain can face.
Even in times of comparatively low villainy, it is journalists — particularly print journalists — who serve as every community’s watchdog. Reporters are the ones attending endless government meetings. They are the ones charting the costs of school construction and city council salaries. They are the ones to tell who’s using public equipment to repair their personal property and when that bridge reconstruction is ever going to be finished.
They are the ones who do the numbers that demonstrate just how dangerous a certain traffic intersection is. They are the ones who reveal industrial chemicals have infiltrated the drinking water supply. They are the ones that report trends in drug abuse and all other kinds of social ills.
They are also the ones who tell us stories of heroes, and dramatic animal rescues and weather drama. They are the ones who keep us on track with concerts and plays and the winners of spelling bees.
Would anyone but a villain really want to get rid of these journalists, these first responders to the truth? No.
In fact, those who really love our country may consider doing something especially patriotic to celebrate America’s birthday this week. Subscribe to your community newspaper. Subscribe to a national news magazine. Watch or listen to a reputable, low-bias news program.
Help journalists as they help us to keep the flag flying proudly.