You can tell a lot about a person by how they treat a watchdog.
The purpose of a watchdog is to alert people about possible danger and deter those with bad intentions from carrying out their evil deeds. The media is America’s watchdog. It is the institution that maintains the collective conscience of our communities and our country.
The media’s role is to hold a mirror to those who seek power and to challenge those who would use that power for personal gain.
In American politics, it is the moral obligation of the media to point out when a would-be emperor isn’t wearing any clothes. To do less would be a betrayal to all those who have sacrificed in the name of speaking the truth and those who have bled and died on battlefields to defend what it means to be an American.
It is an even greater betrayal to the millions of Americans who rely on the media every day for the information they need in order to be active participants in American democracy.
Despite whatever conspiracy theory, you may subscribe too, there is no secret cabal of media elites.
There are no hidden protocols or shadowy figures pulling the strings to manipulate the media message.
That is the stuff of spy thrillers and dime store novels and has about as much basis in reality as unicorns, fairies and science fiction space forces.
The media is not a monolith.
Writers, editors and the thousands of other professionals who work in the media speak with their own voices and ask their own questions. Among this vast sea of watchdogs, there are those who would embrace the labels of conservatives, liberals and moderates and those who would eschew any political label as a tarnish to their objectivity.
Among the ranks of newsrooms, there are military veterans and volunteers and those who would go to the wall in defense of American freedoms and democracy.
It is no secret that President Donald Trump doesn’t like the news media. In particular, he is quick to label any media outlets that are critical of his regime as being “fake news.”
Trump has escalated his language calling the media the enemy of the people. He tells his followers to not trust what they see and hear reported, but instead listen only to him. This is not the message of a patriot but echoes those of would be hucksters, charlatans, tyrants and emperors all standing naked on a stage claiming that their robes and gowns are of the finest cloth.
There have been many politicians who have cursed the meddling media, usually about the time when the politicians’ misdeeds come to light.
It is not the job of the media to be liked, just like it is not the job of the watchdog to be silent when the thief is lurking in the bushes in the middle of the night.
Lies, greed, and corruption are the true enemies of America. The men and women in the news media who every day turn over the rocks to shed light on the misdeeds of politicians are doing their jobs.
They along with the voters who take that information and make informed decisions when they go to the polls are the champions of America, not its enemies.
You have to wonder about anyone, let alone a president, who would tell you to ignore the alarms and the barking of the watchdogs and that he alone is the keeper of the truth.
Brian Wilson, News Editor
The Star News, Medord, Wisconsin