The real enemies of the people

Published 6:27 pm Wednesday, August 15, 2018

If you’re reading this editorial right now, chances are you do not consider the Washington Daily News to be an enemy of the American people. Thank goodness.

On a daily basis, The Washington Daily News seeks to fairly and accurately report what is happening in Washington and Beaufort County. While reporting on bad news comes with the territory, this newspaper tries to also tell the good stories of the people of Beaufort County.

If you glance for a moment to the bottom left-hand side of this editorial page, you will notice a statement that lists the goals and mission of this publication. Among these goals are to serve the public interest by holding government and public officials accountable, to edit and publish with integrity and, above all, to treat our readers, advertisers and business associates with respect.

These aren’t just words on a piece of paper. These and the other goals listed are commitments that this newspaper takes seriously. They are our way of saying that we care about the people of this community, and that we want to be an ally and an advocate for the people.

When national leaders speak of the media as an amorphous mass of ill will and falsehood and unfairness, they are doing a disservice to our country. When they brand the media “the Enemy of the People,” they don’t just denigrate their adversaries at national networks and newspapers. They undermine an entire profession and slander the work of good journalists across this country. Their statements threaten freedom of the press, a liberty so critical to democracy that the Founding Fathers saw fit to enshrine it in our Constitution.

Back in 1990, the staff of the Washington Daily News was recognized with a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. While this may be old news to those who have been around for a while, the award was not given just for show. Through diligence and hard work, the staff of the newspaper exposed the presence of cancer-causing contaminants in the city’s water system. In doing so, they revealed that officials had known about the contaminants for years. This is a prime example of how journalism can hold government officials accountable and be a catalyst for meaningful change. Is this something an enemy of the people would do?

So once again, for the people in the back, reporters are not the enemies of the people. Editors, publishers and news companies are not the enemies of the American people.

The true enemies of the American people are violence, addiction, greed, sickness, hunger, poverty and the countless other ills that plague our society; not to mention the politicians who place money and personal gain over the interests of the public they are elected to represent.

It’s high time we consider who our real enemies are.