Readers’ Forum

We Should Cherish, Embrace Free Press

To The Reader’s Forum:

For two of the years while working as a university professor I had as my work-study student, a young man who was majoring in journalism. He was far and away the best student worker I ever had. I often read his papers and he read mine. I treated him as a junior colleague.

One thing I remember about him was his propensity to check every fact in his stories, combing over every detail, making sure it was correct before turning a paper in for a grade. There are rules against making stuff up. A real journalist can get in a lot of trouble for that. The kind of trouble includes laws protecting the public against slander, libel, defamation, to name a few.

Remembering that young man is the reason I cringe every time I hear our (former) president say “fake news.”

What is more fake than tweeting about something? It’s barely more than gossip.

The First Amendment guarantees freedom of the press for a reason. It’s not for a few liberal journalists to go around making stuff up about the president only to make him look bad and usher in a kinder gentler socialist state. There are no conspiracies to that end. Has anyone considered the magnitude of the secret one would have to keep were that true? Most of us can’t keep a secret sitting in a room alone.

The role of a free press is to hold our leaders accountable for their actions. That is sacred. We should cherish it. Embrace it. It is what makes this country different, even with all its flaws.

Rick Knott,

West Ellicott


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