A free press is not the enemy of the people


The role of the press has been contentious from the very early days of our democracy. The men who authored the foundational documents of the United States enshrined a free press in the first amendment to the Constitution. For just as long, it’s been a time-honored tradition for elected officials to lambast media reports as false, wrong-headed, not accurate…and in recent years, “fake.”

More than likely, the press has also been called the “enemy of the people” before the current era. But it’s doubtful there has been such a wholesale onslaught on the public’s confidence in the press as that conducted by the current occupant of the White House.

Do we sometimes get it wrong? Yes, of course. Are we the enemy of the people? No, of course not. In a society built on the premise of self governance a free press is the very antithesis of an enemy of the people. It is a check — one of many — against attacks on a people’s call to govern themselves.

Democracies demand an ample supply of good information that the people can use to decide matters of great public interest. Journalists help with this necessary endeavor. And in doing so journalists face a dangerous job around the world, just for pursuing the truth. In the United States, suppression of the ability of journalists to do their job is a sophisticated and complex operation.

That’s why we’re joining with news outlets across the country today to say loudly and clearly, a free and functioning press is essential to our democracy. And to ask you to engage with us, let us know when we are right, let us know when we are wrong, provide us information, share our work with others. Support your local news makers.

This is our two cents, in a broad conversation happening in media outlets across the country today. Here are the editorials published by the Santa Fe New Mexican, Albuquerque Journal, and the Las Cruces Sun-News. See more in a compilation provided by the New York Times.