This editorial from The Lake News, Calvert City, is reprinted with permission
There is a deep and abiding desire among many of our elected officials and government agencies to opt out of any contact with the press. They say they can tell their story more accurately and fairly than the news media. We shall be the first to admit that the news media is not always fair and not always accurate. However, unlike our critics, the news media has a vested interest in being fair and accurate. Those of us in the news media know our very existence is grounded in being fair and accurate. Our commitment to our readers to bring them information they can trust in many cases supersedes profitability. Overwhelmingly the news media seeks to be fair and accurate no matter what some politicians will tell you.
For our Governor and our President to tell us they will provide more accurate information about what they are doing through social media is a serious concern. Seeking to bypass interaction with not just the press, but the people, has become a standard operating practice for many politicians. Our democracy demands openness in government and accountability to the people. Some politicians seem to believe that when once they are elected they own the office. We believe those positions are there so someone can serve the people, not the other way around.
It is the news media’s role to constantly question the activities of elected officials, those who seek to become elected officials and most importantly government on every level. Now at a time when the rich and powerful are seeking to take control of government the rules that have kept us free for more than two centuries are being challenged. The view being forwarded is the news media is untruthful and not trustworthy when that is not the case.
What is happening is the activities of President Donald Trump’s administration and some in his campaign will not stand the light of day. Gov. Bevin is also resistant to news media examination of his activities since being elected to office. He has been defeated in court but a Republican controlled General Assembly has re-written the playing field to give him what he wants. These activities much be reported and the people can decide whether or not they were the right choices.
A free press is a key to democracy in the United States and around the world. How can anyone among us believe the ideal replacement for a free press is social media? What office holder if they are in charge of reporting about themselves would ever release any negative information?
We will not accept the idea that elected officials should be allowed to avoid questions from the media or more importantly their constituents. This is how dictators operate.
Do we want dictators?