Friends like these
Generally we use this space for pressing local issues, on wet/dry, water departments, traffic laws, street lights and matters which have a direct, immediate, impact on our lives here in the Ozark foothills. It's a local paper, we do local things. Today, however, we need to reach a little further, to something at least national in scope, and something of pressing concern.
Recently the President of the United States asserted that those engaged in journalism produce “Fake News” and are - most troubling of all - an “Enemy of the people.”
Obviously we disagree. And, we'd like to think, with equal obviousness you would disagree that this newspaper, this news desk, this single reporter-editor-editorials writer for the local weekly paper would not be one of “those people” who engage in fake news, leave alone be an enemy of the people. This newspaper is, after all, part of the community, part of the team. There's the guy from the paper, at the meeting, the parade, the celebration, the ribbon cutting, the speech, the court, the joy, the sorrow, the lives shared. The guy from the paper, he's one of us. (Go talk to him, he's always up for a conversation.)
But then that's the business, of going out and digging around, finding out what's going on, typing it up and getting the word out. That's the job, that's what we do.
“We,” what “we” do. Critical word that, as in “one of many.” The guy from the paper, he's one of many, very many, doing the same thing. Some, like this, small papers in small towns, others with larger territories to cover, more going on, more places to be, more news, more reporters, more pages, and yet it's always the same: Reporter, notebook, what's going on, typing it up and getting it out there.
Journalism, we're doing journalism, us, we people. We're part of the community, your community and, ultimately, the community we all live in, small or large, local or national.
It's not always pretty, and not everyone likes it when the cover is pulled back and we share with you what was found. And from there, oh my yes, come the attacks, the assertions, even when it's the guy from the paper, the one of us guy. Not everybody likes it when their business is put out for public review, even when it's public business, even when it deserves review, even when it's done by the guy from the paper.
By a journalist, by someone working their beat, by one of many, very many, out there finding out and typing it up - by someone who is anything but an enemy of the people, who is anything but a news faker. By someone who is, ultimately, when you strip away the notebook, the typing and the reporting, an American - one of you, one of us.
And because we are Americans we are are able to participate (participate!) in a free press, much the same as you, reading these words.
And of all the reactions to “Enemy of the People” the one most overpowering is disappointment. Words, after all, matter - a point we prove every week. And those words, from that pulpit, are unacceptable and utterly, utterly, wrong.
Matthew 5: 1-12 (NIV)
5 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them.
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad,because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.