Three or four times a year, our local "newspapers" praise themselves for unselfishly doing what is right for their readers (at least as they see it). Anniversaries of both papers' founding are sure things as well as "Newspaper Sunshine Week." With Sunshine Week upon us, today's editorial, "Safeguarding Our Liberty, Prosperity," was predictable.
The editorial, unlike most that I read online today celebrating the week, has nothing bad to say about the recent efforts by the Trump administration to demonize and exclude news sources that question the president. Today's editorial not only doesn't defend those news sources' right to "safeguard our freedom," it appears to agree with Trump that they are "fake news":
Let us be clear about “fake news.” Even those who worry most publicly about it, including President Donald Trump, include just a handful of news outlets in their indictments.
And who does Trump include in the "fake news" category? As the Washington Post reported last month:
The White House blocked a number of news organizations from attending an informal briefing Friday, a rare and surprising move that came amid President Trump’s escalating war against the media.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer banned reporters from CNN, the New York Times, Politico, the Los Angeles Times and BuzzFeed from attending a “gaggle,” a non-televised briefing, but gave access to a number of other reporters, including those representing conservative outlets. . . .
The unusual ban came the same day that Trump, appearing at an annual gathering of conservatives, launched another round of complaints about the news media. Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Trump called reporters “dishonest” and “fake” and denounced the use of anonymous sources in reports about his administration.
Yes, we need more "fair and balanced" news sources like Breitbart, Fox News, and the Wheeling "newspapers."
My favorite quote in the editorial is about how the local papers acknowledge mistakes and have no political allegiances:
We make mistakes, of course — but we try very hard to be accurate and when we do err, we admit it. Our allegiance is to our readers, not to any political party, individual politician or special interest.
I'll skip the part about how they have no allegiances to parties, politicians, or special interests -- regular readers of this blog know that's what keeps me busy all week -- and skip to the part about admitting their mistakes. I'm now into my fourth year of doing this blog which requires me to closely read our local "newspapers." In that time I've seen one correction -- just one. Two years ago, poor Heather Ziegler misidentified Cardinal Timothy Dolan in a photo and the next day both "newspapers" published top-of-page-one corrections. Additionally, Ziegler had to write a weekend column apologizing and atoning for her grievous error. (I wrote about it here.) Yes, the locals have no problem lying about scientific studies, misrepresenting Democratic politicians, and using clearly biased news sources, but draw the line with misidentifying a church official. That's all in the name of "safeguarding our liberty, prosperity."
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