ID’ing the Enemy

Faithful readers may have noticed that Chapel Hill Watch did not appear among the list of 350 news outlets that ran an editorial rejecting Donald Trump’s dissing of the media. No political agenda here. I totally agree with the editorial published by The Boston Globe. I simply went on vacation last week, a real vacation where I didn’t follow any national news whatsoever. I can’t remember the last time I experienced such serenity.

Ever since he first ran for office, Trump has been calling news media “the enemy of the people,” that is, unless the reporting portrayed him in a positive light. The Globe got tired of such hogwash and pointed out that “[t]he press is necessary to a free society because it does not implicitly trust leaders — from the local planning board to the White House.”

Read the editorial here.

As Twitter, Facebook and other social media have let individuals create their own news, we rely on large, established news outlets elsewhere to invest resources in reporting, fact-checking and analyzing so that we have a realistic picture of what’s happening in our world.

And if the truth punctures someone’s idealized view of themselves, brace for the backlash.

Thomas Jefferson said: “Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.”

I’m grateful for the journalists willing to not only put their lives on the line to help us see the world as it really exists but to persevere through the angry taunts from those with injured egos.

When I returned from my vacation, peaceful as it was, I thirsted for news of what I had missed. While I didn’t necessarily like what I read upon my return, I felt a part of the rest of the world.

Chapel Hill’s only newspaper closed up shop last year, and the Durham Herald-Sun has done a yeoman’s job of keeping on top of issues of concern to the community. Yet I miss knowing who got married, gave birth, died, got arrested, bought or sold a home; what businesses opened or closed, which movies were playing and artists displaying, and what produce was in season at the farmers market. Those details connect us as a community.

But even more important is knowing about actions of elected leaders that impact our quality of life. News media disseminate facts that help them make better decisions, that information helps the public recognize a bad decision and know when to speak up.
— Nancy Oates

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1 Comment

  1. Del Snow

     /  August 22, 2018

    So many of us see the gaping hole left in the fabric of our community when the CH News closed.

    I hope that we can do something about it.