Your local news isn’t ‘fake’

Here’s the reality of what a hometown newspaper can do

Less than a month into his term, President Donald Trump created a “fake news” battle with multiple national media outlets, referring to them as the “enemy of the people.” And that rhetoric continues. The idea of fake news now permeates our national dialogue, used to dismiss news reports when someone doesn’t agree.

While this makes for lively television, it is a destructive practice that should never be blithely used. And while it may ring true in some quarters, there is a place this phrase should never apply: your local newspaper.

The Daily Freeman-Journal is serious when it comes to accurately reporting the news. We know, for instance, that our local communities rely on what we report. It must be as accurate as possible. We do that for multiple reasons, the most crucial of which all funnels down to one word: trust.

The term watchdog has been used to roughly describe, at least in part, what journalists aim to do, which is to hold the powerful accountable. That can include being at odds with others. While people may, from time to time, disagree with the results of that role, it is nevertheless necessary to a healthy community.

Promoting a healthy community is an important goal. Truth, whether we like it or not, is a step on that road. We aim to build our opinions on solid rock, not shifting sands. Only truth can provide that foundation.

We’ve held firm to this goal since our founding in 1857. That’s 161 years. Have we made mistakes? Of course we have. But we own up to those mistakes publicly, fully aware of them and chastened. Then we try hard to never repeat them.

We cover city council, the county board of supervisors or law enforcement so that you don’t have to. We attend their meetings or are on scene in crises so you don’t have to be there. We are your ears, your eyes and a steady litmus test for what is right.

And we take that responsibility seriously.

“Fake news” has no part in our business.

Our nation’s founders wisely advocated this approach because they had witnessed the results of other ways. They recognized that an unfettered press, particularly a local press, can be the best friend of a thriving nation.

It is our duty to prove them right.

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