President Trump has called the media “the lowest form of humanity,” “lowlifes,” “scum,” disgusting” and most recently “the enemy of the people.”
It’s disheartening to hear such a thing coming from the leader of the free world, even more so since his words are actually turning the American people against the press.
The media is not the enemy of the people. The Lake Powell Chronicle is not the enemy of the people. Not even close.
Maintaining a free press is vital to maintaining the values that Americans hold dear.
Without the press shining its light into every corner of every institution corruption is able to flourish. A free press is the bedrock of democracy. It is so crucial to a healthy, functioning democracy that our founding fathers added it to the First Amendment. Journalism is referred to as the Fourth Estate because when the normal system of checks and balances fail, journalists are there to bring them to light, sort them out and make sense of what’s happening.
To quote George Orwell, who’s novel “1984” has a surreal prescience to what’s happening in America, “Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations.”
The role of journalism is to deliver the news from a non-biased, neutral point of view and let our readers, after reading the facts of the story, decide for themselves what side of the issue they’re on. During journalism school journalism students have the importance of reporting a news event from a neutral viewpoint emphasized repeatedly during their four years of j-school.
There is one place where journalists are allowed to break the rule of remaining unbiased and neutral and that is on the opinion page. On the opinion page editors and staff writers regularly share their views on a particular subject. Sometimes it’s about something benign, such as, why October is their favorite month. Other times it may be about a subject that strikes a nerve with some readers throughout the community.
Even on our opinion page the press remains fair. If we run an opinion stating that we believe Trump’s tariffs are harming the American economy, for example, we will certainly publish a letter to the editor from any of our readers who have an opposing viewpoint. While we’re on the subject, the Lake Powell Chronicle will happily publish letters to the editor in opposition to this opinion piece. If you agree with Trump that the press is the enemy of the people, we’ll publish it in our pages next week.
Most journalists get into journalism because they’re story tellers and it offers them a career that’s dynamic and engaging, where they get to interact with interesting people on a daily basis and tell their stories. Even though readership is steadily shrinking, our staffs are shrinking, and our paychecks are crap (journalists are some of the lowest-paid members of the workforce; and always have been), most journalists end up staying in the profession because we love democracy. We love our country, and we love the communities where we live and write about
We run the good news alongside the bad news. We may run sad, or maddening, life-changing news on page one and a feature about your neighbor’s new endeavor on page seven.
The Lake Powell Chronicle has been Page’s newspaper of record since August 11,1965. If you ever want to know what happened here in any given week in any given year we can pull that volume from our morgue and show you.
Even though the role of the media isn’t to be the friend of the people, it still happens often enough, especially in a small town like Page. The majority of what we report are stories about our community and the people in it striving to make it a better place, or to make their lives or their neighbors lives better.
The press is not the enemy of the people. Quite the opposite actually.
We are the voice of the people. We are the watchdog of the people. We are the champion of the people. We are the Advocate, the Herald, the Tribune, the Guardian, the Sentinel, and the Chronicle of the people.