Image from FreePress
Dear Journalists and Reporters, Editors, and Media Owners,
As we start a new year, I want to thank you.
The struggle to protect American democracy will accelerate in 2018. In your professionalism, endurance, and analysis you clarified the stakes in 2017. You organized information, verified sources, and continued to pursue the stories despite significant daily harassment and bullying from the president and his minions.
Individually, there was brilliant reporting. Collectively, you assembled the pieces so we can begin to know the truth. We need you to find the strength, wisdom, and endurance to meet the attacks of the coming year. The legitimate free press and an activist citizenry remain our last guardrails for democracy. (We have yet to test where the military and the police will cast their lot).
The president busily loads the courts with unqualified partisans and attacks our structures of justice and security. He openly defies the Constitution in his private business dealings. He lies. He assaults women. He courts tyrants and gives top secret information to our enemies. He diminishes America’s role in the world. He flippantly threatens nuclear war. He destroys families and encourages hatred and division. He defiantly demonstrates that he does not represent nor does he want to lead all of the American people. He robs from the poor to give to the rich. He is both dangerous and an embarrassment.
Congress has walked away from its role as an independent branch of government. Our elected representatives in the Senate and House violate their Oaths of Office to protect and defend the Constitution. Loyalty is to the Republican Party and its mega donors, not to citizens, or the Constitution, or even the law.
Big money already funds the propaganda machine of Fox News. Other rich oligarchs seek to purchase the free press in order to muffle your voice. Worthy of a fascist dictatorship, Fox combined with the Russian infiltration of social media, fuels natural differences of opinion into divisions that go even deeper into families and friendships. The Cabinet appalls with its syrupy public adulation of the president served up to him on queue, while they actively dismantle the protections for citizens and the earth one by one. There seems to be no vision other than to enrich the rich and destroy the country.
We are left to hold the president and the Congress to account. We need you – and you need us. I hope both the citizens of the country, and the free “press” (television, radio, social media, print media, and magazines) will rise to the challenge. You stand in a long line of noble patriots. The essayists writing the Federalist Papers, the tradition of fearless, fair, and effective journalists across our history are your professional heritage.
I realize your job must take a personal toll. You work long hours. You are pressured by powerful people, perhaps you are threatened. The stakes are high and your commitment must be all consuming. Thank you for making the sacrifice in service to the truth. Thank you for keeping us informed; for providing context and history; for speaking truth to power, even when the powerful disdain and distort the truth.
We’re behind you. We’re supporting you. We’re subscribing to your papers and podcasts. We’re commenting in social media. Our protest signs are finished and stacked in the garage for the day we must all make our voices heard with our bodies in the streets. We are grateful for your service on the front lines and your protection of the First Amendment.
2018 is a critical moment in the history of the United States. Thank you for what you have done to prepare us, and for what will be needed from you in the coming year.