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During a recent wedding St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians about love was read, including “love rejoices with the truth,” reminding me that in politics truth has become a casualty of the desire for power.
The result is many believe that news is fake, that journalists cannot be trusted, are unethical and should be intimidated and suppressed. They are wrong.
Journalists — as compared to political commentators — are held to high ethical standards to report the truth because their work in ferreting out corruption and crooks is necessary to our democracy.
Journalists have thus become targets of powerful people who deny the truth, replacing it with falsehoods. To interdict investigations, they intimidate journalists, including threats of violence. A false story is created with journalists slandered to discredit their reporting.
To preserve our republic, we must support our journalists and the institutions that train them. Many of our journalists receive their training at Maine schools such as the University of Maine, Bowdoin and Colby. Their education includes the ethics of journalism which addresses how facts are obtained and reported so that the story will be accurate, truthful, fair and not misleading. Hard work and persistence are taught as fundamental to “rooting out” the truth.
As trusted institutions, our colleges and universities are in a particularly good position to educate Mainers about the high journalistic ethical standards required of journalists. They should actively do so. Journalists deserve public support, not disparagement. We need more courageous investigative journalists, not less.
If Paul were among us today, he would certainly say that we should not only rejoice in the truth about our leaders, but should demand it. I would anticipate that he would also draw our attention to John 8:32 which proclaims “the truth shall make you free.” Such is the role of the journalist.