We are not your enemy

The ongoing rhetoric from President Donald Trump calling out the news media as “the enemy of the people” is deeply concerning.
We are not your enemy.
We are your ally.
The SUN reports on local matters of interest to our community and its citizens in the fairest and most impartial way that we can.
It’s rewarding to receive emails such as one this week stating: “As a side note, my wife Lynne and I sincerely appreciate the SUN’s coverage of local events, which you do to a degree that we have not experienced elsewhere. Thank you.”
We are proud to over deliver in our coverage. We appreciate our readers reminding us when we fail to deliver and when we do well.
Tim Waltner with the Freeman Courier in South Dakota penned an editorial this week stating: “The free flow of information is at the heart of a democracy. When a person holding the highest elected position in the land constantly calls those who are providing this information ‘the enemy of the people,’ American citizens are in trouble.
“It gets worse. Last week, in a speech at the VFW annual convention in Kansas City, the president said, ‘Stick with us. Don’t believe the crap you see from these people, the fake news … What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.’
“When the president is asking the American people to believe that what is being reported is not the truth, we are in serious trouble as a nation.”
Waltner continued, “But to broadly label news media as ‘fake news’ and to tell people that ‘what you’re reading is not what’s happening’ is both irresponsible and dangerous.”
Our concern with the president’s comments has nothing to do with party affiliation. It’s not about whether you’re a conservative or a liberal. Heck, on any given day we have been called both conservative and liberal two or three times over. That doesn’t matter to us.
What matters to us is keeping the public informed.
We agree with the president that “fake news” is irresponsible and dangerous. You find it everywhere on social media these days, but you won’t find it in this community newspaper.
Are we perfect? Certainly not. When we make a mistake, we own it and we print a correction. Fortunately, we haven’t had to print many of those corrections over the years.
In this week’s Letters to the Editor a reader expressed, “Finally, I would like to thank the Pagosa Sun, its reporters and especially the editor for keeping the public apprised of the activities of the commissioners, the town council, and the powers that be. It is reassuring to know that someone is watching and listening and has the community’s best interests at heart.”
Washington Post Columnist Margaret Sullivan recently wrote, “in our terribly divided nation, we need the local newspaper to give us common information — an agreed-upon set of facts to argue about.”
Without that, she wrote, “public officials aren’t held accountable, town budgets go unscrutinized … we never know what we don’t know. Corruption can flourish, taxes can rise, public officials can indulge their worst impulses.”
Last month, after The SUN called out the county for allowing the jail advisory committee to hold meetings behind closed doors, we received an email about the matter stating: “If ever there were an example of the importance of an independent press, this is it.”
We agree.
Terri Lynn Oldham House

This story was posted on August 16, 2018.