I love love love the Washington Post’s new motto: Democracy dies in darkness.
I’ve written before about my belief in the integral importance of a free press to democracy. It is simply not possibly for democracy to continue in any meaningful sense without the scrutiny of a free press, both national and local.
Let’s be honest: journalists are generally not held in high regard. But that is simply ridiculous and an unfair repayment of the debt we owe to their trade. Many of the most brilliant people I know earn a fraction of what they could and work longer hours than they should to be journalists. Because they believe that an informed public matters. Because they are obsessed with making sure the truth gets out.
Do journalists sometimes get things wrong? Yeah, sure – who doesn’t? Take the Camden New Journal. I don’t think anyone disputes that it leans to the left editorially. But I won’t rail against their editorial decisions and try to discredit them, as one Labour councillor in particular does. Because without their scrutiny and reporting, we would all be in darkness.
That’s why I will always and everywhere stand up for press freedom. I oppose Camden Council spending taxpayers’ money competing with local newspapers: whether through the LoveCamden website or their risible Camden magazine. And I will oppose the government – of any party or stripe – that lays a finger on journalistic freedom.
In America, they have their own problems. The smearing of anyone that disagrees with you as ‘fake news’ and the presentation of bare-faced lies as ‘alternative facts’ are new, but the problem of discrediting journalism is old. You want to stand up for democracy? Then buy a fucking newspaper.
Democracy dies in darkness – an unfettered and fearless free press is the light.