Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Trust

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Trust

Article excerpt

The media has always been subject to public scrutiny. And we welcome that. As sources of public information, we should be held accountable, and we should be willing to admit when we're wrong.

But over the past year, that scrutiny has taken a disheartening turn. Public officials in the highest offices have sought to discredit the media en masse. They have resorted to personal attacks, name-calling and public shaming. They have broken decades' worth of protocol in treatment of the press by withholding information and restricting access. They have discredited demonstrable truth in the service of their power.

This is terrifying.

When the powerful try to paint the press in broad strokes as the enemy, it undermines the entire system of trust that our news system is based on. If the American people are convinced by those in power that the press, as an institution, is simply serving its own interests, or working at the behest of political factions, then even basic facts will be dismissed as "fake news." And without the press, it's the powerful who hold all the cards, who control the narrative, and who may determine which sources are "real" and "fake. …

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