It happened again yesterday.
A white man with a gun killed five innocent people.
But this one hit really close to home. This one was personal.
This angry white man came after reporters and editors at the Capital in Annapolis, Md., and shot five of them dead.
The creature currently squatting in the White House has claimed again and again that the press is the enemy of the public, and apparently, some people are starting to believe it.
Those brave people, who covered the events unfolding in their newsroom by jumping under their desks for protection — and sending out information on social media. They continued to do their jobs, even as someone was trying to kill them.
I spent a career as a reporter, following in the footsteps of my father. Telling the truth about what’s happening in government and in the world was his life and it’s still mine.
I do freelance reporting now, and this blog. The truth is important to me, and telling the stories of people affected by bad public policy is the only way to force changes. That’s why I do the work I do now with the Poor People’s Campaign. That’s why I tell the story of how my precious son died every chance I get.
Journalists tell these stories:
- The stories of children ripped from their parents’ arms at the border and caged like animals, forced to appear in court without representation;
- the stories of people kept in jail for months at a time because they don’t have $250 or $500 cash bail, so they lose their jobs and their homes, even though they’ve committed no crime;
- the stories of protesters with disabilities being pulled from their wheelchairs while trying to speak to elected officials who want to cut their services;
- the stories of teachers, eligible for food stamps because they’re paid so little, buying classroom supplies for the children in their charge;
- the stories of teachers throwing their bodies between their students and an angry white man with a gun;
- the stories of young black men gunned down by cops, who never suffer any consequences;
- the stories of soldiers who come home after five or more deployments to combat zones and then get no help with their PTSD — 22 of them die by their own hand every day.
The creature in the White House and his minions don’t want us to hear those stories. They don’t want us to know about their crimes against humanity, their corruption, their theft of public money, their collusion with a foreign power — and people like the angry white man who killed five innocent journalists yesterday do their dirty work for them. You don’t have to lock up journalists if you can get an angry white man to intimidate them for you by killing off a few here and there.
But journalists aren’t easily intimidated. We face threats all the time. We get angry calls from people who realize they sounded really stupid at the meeting last night when they read what they said in the morning paper. I’ve had many, many such angry calls. I even had someone threaten to kill me in a phone message after I wrote that LGBTQ people should enjoy the same right to marry that I do.
I laughed it off, but my editors did not.
My father had police checking up on our house frequently after he wrote about a crime ring.
Journalists don’t stop doing what we do because we know the truth is of the utmost importance. When a public figure lies, that’s our challenge to call him or her out and to find the truth.
The creature in the White House has no affection for the truth. He cares for nothing beyond his own self-aggrandizement. That’s why he’s so eager to attack and vilify the press. He is a toxic sociopath, and his reign will be short. It will be a footnote in history, a little asterisk with the notation, “worst president in American history.”
Meanwhile, the Capital will go on publishing.
Meanwhile, journalists in newsrooms that have been decimated by corporate greed will keep on seeking and writing the truth.
What we all need to do is support local journalism. Subscribe to publications you trust, online, on the air or in hard copy.
Show the creature and his minions that the truth does matter, and that you will defend it. That’s the only way we’ll make it through this dark time.