In defense of journalism – Baltimore Sun

How silly, perhaps, but how hopeful we were that Donald Trump would give up his attacks on the media after he was inaugurated president. But the pivot hasn’t happened, and the office hasn’t elevated him, as some had predicted. Instead, on his first full day in office, Mr. Trump continued his assault, describing members of the media as “among the most dishonest human beings on Earth.” Since then he has intensified his attacks, suggesting Thursday that the media “makes up stories and sources” and that “the level of dishonesty is out of control.”

As a former journalist with stints at daily newspapers outside Boston, in St. Louis and in Baltimore before changing careers to become a psychologist, I felt sad for my former profession after hearing those comments. And I felt oddly sad for a president who must look in the media mirror each day and not like what he sees. Mr. Trump’s comments are frightening. I fear that too many Americans do not recognize the commitment the vast majority of journalists have to the truth, as well as to their professional credibility.

I felt especially heartsick at Mr. Trump’s attacks on the media as I thought of journalism colleagues who died in the last year, colleagues who were, simply, the embodiment of integrity and fair-mindedness. If members of the public, especially those who distrust the “mainstream media,” could have observed these reporters and editors at work, they would have been reassured that journalism has never lost its mission — reporting news accurately to keep readers informed.

I know there are thousands of journalists in this country dedicated to pursuing the truth. I have held that faith since I was a young girl, reading the evening newspaper with my father each night before dinner. He was a banker and a Republican, and he trusted and relied upon the newspaper and the TV evening news. Television is where I found my first journalist hero: Walter Cronkite, the CBS anchor known as the “most trusted man in America.”

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