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The Southerner’s response to attacks on the news media

The+First+Amendment+of+the+U.S.+Constitution.
The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

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The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

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In accordance with the Boston Globe’s proposal, the Southerner is taking part in a coordinated editorial response to the ongoing attacks on the press by President Donald Trump.

A cognizant nation capable of making intelligent decisions begins with unlimited access to honest information by way of the press. In the democratic system of holding the government accountable for its actions, the ability to access independent news outlets is critical to the integrity of our nation. News outlets are the only way individuals can be exposed to the status of the government. With the President of the United States publicly discrediting the idea of the free press, these foundational necessities are compromised.

President Trump is quoted saying, “It is frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write,” and he has referred to the press as reporting “fake news” and as “the enemy of the people.”

Controversial news is not the enemy of the people. All stories that are relevant to the people need to be reported on, regardless of how they are perceived by each individual.

Unbiased reporting is not the enemy of the people. Most journalists strive to deliver the news to consumers free of personal opinions and viewpoints, and the President’s attempts to suppress facts  are a direct way of manipulating the views of the population.

Investigative journalism is not the enemy of the people. The freedom of the press is necessary due to its ability to criticize and oppose the actions of high-profile figures.

Those who denounce the integrity of writers are the enemy of the people. When someone with a national presence intentionally cripples the honest reputation of all journalists, then trust is difficult to restore.

Those who silence political viewpoints are the enemy of the people. Every political stance is relevant and necessary to assemble a democracy.

Those who condemn the truth are the enemy of the people. By shaming the entire journalism sector, individuals can create a sense of fear and distrust between the people and the journalists.

Even at Grady High School, there is a disconnect between the student body and the writers of the school newspaper. The newspaper is not seen by all students as a legitimate source of news, and President Trump has become a catalyst for a severe distrust of the press that could potentially spread to the high school level. The power of student-generated media must not be overlooked, especially since it represents a voice that otherwise may not be heard.

We the people hold the power in the political system only if we are informed enough to make intelligent decisions and take well-versed stances. The media is a vital presence in the people’s ability to hold the government accountable. The existence of the press is the only applicable method for the people of the United States to live in the free nation everyone so desires.

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9 Comments

9 Responses to “The Southerner’s response to attacks on the news media”

  1. Deborah on August 16th, 2018 7:53 pm

    Well said!!

  2. Dave Winter on August 16th, 2018 11:03 pm

    I am proud of the staff and its adviser for taking this stand on behalf of the free press.

  3. Chris on August 17th, 2018 8:31 am

    Hear! Hear! Well-written and spot on!

  4. Admirer on August 17th, 2018 11:24 am

    Fye story!

  5. Kay Stephenson on August 17th, 2018 12:35 pm

    Thank you.

  6. Anonymous on August 17th, 2018 4:21 pm

    This is awful. Long live president trump. This is disturbing that you would shame the leader of the free world. Rot in hell

  7. Jennifer Burke on August 17th, 2018 4:43 pm

    As a teacher and former Grady parent, I am proud of Southerner staff taking this important stand. The Washington Post’s tagline, “democracy dies in darkness,” has never been more true. Keep the light shining brightly, focused on the truth.

  8. Bill on August 20th, 2018 11:37 am

    I mean, you could at least talk about the fat that CNN did produce faked news

  9. Mrs. Silence Dogood on August 27th, 2018 10:59 am

    “A cognizant nation capable of making intelligent decisions begins with unlimited access to honest information by way of the press.”
    This is true, but does not address the issue at hand, which is the spreading of dishonest information by way of the press. Any assumption that the press is free and is disseminating 100% honest information is a controversial opinion, not fact.

    “In the democratic system of holding the government accountable for its actions, the ability to access independent news outlets is critical to the integrity of our nation.”
    This is true. We all want our voices heard. There should be less throttling, less social media banishment and more access to independent news outlets.

    “News outlets are the only way individuals can be exposed to the status of the government.”
    This is false. Ideally, news outlets should be able to provide the best, most complete information about the “status of the government”, but a simple discussion of news of the day with one’s neighbor cannot be discounted as a form of the same exposure.

    “With the President of the United States publicly discrediting the idea of the free press, these foundational necessities are compromised.”
    The current President of the United States does not discredit the concept of the free press. In fact, he encourages it. A press that is truly free will be free of fealty to any ideology or political party. The “foundational necessity” that has been compromised is the independence of the press.

    “President Trump is quoted saying, “It is frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write,” and he has referred to the press as reporting “fake news” and as “the enemy of the people.”
    A press that is independent reports all of the facts and allows consumers to draw conclusions. A press with an agenda is not a free press.

    “Controversial news is not the enemy of the people.”
    News is not controversial. News is fact. Controversy arises out of news that has been twisted into opinion in order to serve an agenda.

    “All stories that are relevant to the people need to be reported on, regardless of how they are perceived by each individual.” True, but, as long as we are talking about ideal absolutes, the reporting should be a reporting of all relevant facts and their presentation should be free of agenda.

    “Unbiased reporting is not the enemy of the people.”
    I strongly agree.

    “Most journalists strive to deliver the news to consumers free of personal opinions and viewpoints, and the President’s attempts to suppress facts are a direct way of manipulating the views of the population.”
    I strongly disagree. Suppression of facts goes both ways, and exposure of the facts is the job of a free press. It is not the job of the chief executive, but this does get to problem presented by a press that is duty-bound to an ideology. They will use their influence to manipulate the views of the population.

    “Investigative journalism is not the enemy of the people.”
    It can be if it used in the service of ideology instead of truth.

    “The freedom of the press is necessary due to its ability to criticize and oppose the actions of high-profile figures.” This is a frightening statement. The press should never set out to support or oppose anything or anyone. A free press is in service of the truth. The people have the power to make decisions based on facts and to vote accordingly. News and opinion are two different words for a reason. Our constitutional freedom of speech allows for the free expression of opinions, but opinions are not news. News is facts.

    “Those who denounce the integrity of writers are the enemy of the people.”
    False. I am certain that there are plenty of writers with no integrity. I am also convinced that there are politicians, businessmen, police officers, clergy and teachers with no integrity.

    “When someone with a national presence intentionally cripples the honest reputation of all journalists, then trust is difficult to restore.”
    The same could be said of an agenda-driven press crippling its own honest reputation by confusing opinion with fact.

    “Those who silence political viewpoints are the enemy of the people.”
    I strongly agree. Someone should talk to Mark Zuckerberg about that.

    “Every political stance is relevant and necessary to assemble a democracy.”
    I strongly agree, but look at what happened to Ann Coulter, Milo Yiannapolous and Ben Shapiro at Berkely this year.

    “Those who condemn the truth are the enemy of the people.”
    We are all in agreement on this point.

    “By shaming the entire journalism sector, individuals can create a sense of fear and distrust between the people and the journalists.”
    That could happen, or, more likely, the “journalists” can accomplish this themselves by abusing their position and muddying the waters between opinion and fact.

    “Even at Grady High School, there is a disconnect between the student body and the writers of the school newspaper.”
    Right…next I bet you make an assertion that this is the work of the President.

    “The newspaper is not seen by all students as a legitimate source of news, and President Trump has become a catalyst for a severe distrust of the press that could potentially spread to the high school level.”
    Wow! I was only joking. Are you serious about this?

    “The power of student-generated media must not be overlooked, especially since it represents a voice that otherwise may not be heard.”
    Wait – didn’t you just say that there was a disconnect between the student body and the writers of the school newspaper? Is there a disconnect, or is the paper truly student-generated media? I feel certain that there are student opinions that are not being voiced in this editorial.

    “We the people hold the power in the political system only if we are informed enough to make intelligent decisions and take well-versed stances.”
    Honestly, we hold the power even if we aren’t informed and take poorly-versed stances, but the truth has a way of getting out. Opinions are wonderful. Our Freedom of Speech is sublime, but know the Truth and the Truth shall set you free!

    “The media is a vital presence in the people’s ability to hold the government accountable.”
    Very true, but somewhere along the way, the media decided that telling us what happened was not enough. The media is increasingly determined to tell us the way that we should think and feel about what has happened.

    “The existence of the press is the only applicable method for the people of the United States to live in the free nation everyone so desires.”
    Never mind the armed forces, the Supreme Court, the Congress or the President, this is a tortured sentence and, as such, is the perfect ending to this particular editorial opinion column.

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The Southerner’s response to attacks on the news media