The New York Times Joins Effort to Combat Trump’s Anti-Press Rhetoric
Excerpted from The New York Times, page B2, August 14, 2018
Sometimes it’s important to stand up and be counted, regardless of whether it’s politically correct or not. Today is one of those times.
Today, August 15, 2018, over two hundred newspapers across the country are standing up, very tall, to push back against assertions of publishing “fake news.”
Today, these newspapers are publishing an editorial in defense of a free press. I hope you will read this editorial in your favorite newspaper, whether in print or online, and join the Fourth Estate in defending its honor and its rights in America. Because if you don’t, we just might continue down the slippery slope of a censored, politically controlled press.
Although you will not find the “fake news” problem here at the Fictional Café, I wish to personally state that we stand side by side with our Fourth Estate brethren in claiming our all-American rights to free expression in any and all its forms.
Our press is not always correct, unbiased, or misled. It’s an enterprise operated by people, for people. As such it is subject to any of the faults and foibles that possess the human mind and spirit. Speaking as someone who was a journalist for thirty years, I can personally attest to that. But we try. We try our best to do our job with dignity and honor in pursuit of the truth. And since this is our job, and our sacred trust to you, the public, we deserve respect, not bullying and fact-free denunciations. We should not be silenced by anyone, ever. For if we are, it means there is big trouble brewing in our republic.
This message was brought home in 1935 by Sinclair Lewis in his novel, It Can’t Happen Here, which told the story of a senator who, upon being elected president of the United States, turned into a demagogue. A dictator, a la Adolph Hitler. Lewis’s novel, provided as an audiobook here at the Café, was fair warning to what happens when a citizenry becomes lax.
On a personal note, I’ve been re-reading my three novels set in the late 1960s and early 1970s, a period when public dissent over the Vietnam War and the anarchism arising because of the subsequent repression of that dissent ran wild in the streets of America. Today, by comparison, we are a docile populace, well fed and over-entertained, perhaps too busy playing or shopping to take note of what’s happening to our governance — and therefore to each and every one of us.
Erasmus, a Dutch Renaissance humanist, wrote, “In the land of the blind, the one-eyed is king.” If you happen to be one of those with an eye open, perhaps it’s time to think about standing up and being counted.
Jack B. Rochester
Founder and Editor in Chief
The Fictional Café