Hard work is what we subscribe to

It was less than a month into his term when President Donald Trump ramped up his “fake news” battle with several national media outlets, referring to them at that time as the “enemy of the people.”

The rhetoric continues 18 months later as the term “fake news” now permeates all aspects of our national dialogue, becoming a catch-all phrase used by many to dismiss news reports that are truthful and accurate.

Mr. President, it’s time for the “fake news” talk to end.

Using a broad brush to paint all members of the media as “fake news” — from national publications and broadcast outlets to community daily and weekly newspapers — is not only untruthful, it’s harmful to our democracy.

Here at The Express community newspaper/www.lockhaven.com, we take our mission to accurately report the news and serve our communities through hard work and dedication more seriously than ever.

We do not subscribe to the social media craze that allows false information to spread and do harm.

Our masthead proclaims daily that we are “Not only a Newspaper, a Community Asset.”

By “asset” we mean a productive and healthy forum for the exchange of public information, people’s information and news and opinions.

Through our work to inform people, we strive to bring dialogue to issues and events … to keep people communicating and working together.

We work to be your trusted news source covering this region, from City Council meetings to Little League Baseball games.

We’ve built that trust over nearly 140 years with our readers by being fair, accurate and accountable in all that we do.

However, we’re finding that some of our work covering issues of importance to the region now is being labeled as “fake news.”

Why?

Because our role as watchdog journalists is to hold the powerful accountable.

That can include, at times, being at odds with the position of elected leaders of a local community, or editorializing about how more people need to work together for the common good.

Our mission has not wavered over the years.

But today, when we take a position on our editorial page, or write a story detailing spending irregularities in a local community, we often are accused of spreading “fake news.”

That’s not only unfair, it’s flat-out incorrect and it’s harmful to our way of life in a free society.

We’re not above reproach. We do make mistakes, but when we do, we quickly issue a correction.

“Fake news” has no part in our business.

Our goal each and every day is to provide our readers with a fair, truthful and accurate account of the happenings within our communities.

Our nation’s Founders agreed with this approach, as they recognized that an aggressive, unfettered press is the best friend of a nation such as ours. They insisted upon it, in fact.

Congress — and, by extension, the executive branch — shall make no law “abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press …” as mandated in the 1st Amendment to the Constitution.

Throughout our history, presidents have been subjects of unfavorable reporting — and yes, sometimes inaccurate stories — by some in the press.

Yet, none has attempted to pit the American people against journalists to the extent that Trump has.

Why?

Because presidents both liberal and conservative have understood that the free press is a self-correcting defender of our liberties.

Trump and some of his defenders insist he does not mean to tar all of us in the news media.

But time after time in tweets and at political rallies, he points to the press — all of us — and lashes out.

Mr. President, it’s time for the “fake news” talk to end. It does not serve the American people.

You can only blame fake news so many times before the truth starts to emerge from the newsprint.

— Anthony T. Hincks

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