“The liberty of the press is essential to the security of freedom.” — John Adams
Today, 350 newspapers across the country are publishing editorials denouncing our president's attack on the press. Courtesy of CNN, here is the full list of those publications. I am honored to have written for a number of them, including The Chicago Tribune. A friend reminded me that this list focuses on major newspapers across the country. Smaller publications, she pointed out, have also joined in today's protest and published editorials.
To see the industry band together and stand in solidarity makes me proud. Gives me hope.
For 17 years, I was a staff writer for a non-profit association. For 30 years, I have been a freelance writer. These days, I am focusing on this blog and several fiction projects. Over the course of my writing career, I never pursued anything closely resembling hard-hitting or investigative reporting. The closest I ever came to political writing was covering local town meetings and charity events. Feature stories, profiles, and essays were what interested me. Which means I've never been humiliated in a press conference at the White House or been denied access to an interviewee. But I have sweated over the details, revised and edited long after it was cost-effective for me. With the knowledge that most people respect what I do, I have asked perfect strangers to tell me their stories. Because I respect those strangers and their willingness to talk to me, I have done my best to accurately tell those stories.
And so, when the most powerful man in government demeans and dismisses the most respected reporters and journalists in the country, I take it personally. Not because I consider myself to be in the same class as CNN's Jim Acosta, NBC's Katy Tur, or journalists who've won the Pulitzer Prize, but because I have acquired a small understanding of the scrutiny they are under. I admire their dedication under the harshest circumstances. And because I do, I depend on them to bring the truth to me.
Our nation's newspapers and their truth-telling journalists stand on the front lines. As a feature writer and blogger, I stand further back in the crowd, thankful for their courage and tenacity. They question and probe and often take the heat for unpopular findings. Without them, I fear for the liberty and freedoms they protect.
Knowing, should they be silenced, I could be next.