Editor's note: Across the nation today, U.S. newspapers and news organizations are publishing, posting or broadcasting editorials opposing press-bashing. The idea was sparked by Boston Globe editorial page editor Marjorie Pritchard. What follows is our voice in that chorus of solidarity. We are the enemy. It's true. We say that with no hesitation. If you abuse power, we are the enemy. When you use propaganda to mislead the people, you are the enemy. If a public official deliberately hides documents or closes meetings, we are the enemy. We will come after you if you are an oppressor of the underprivileged. We will never allow anyone to silence the voices and opinions of others. If you ignore laws and human rights, you are the enemy. We will call out discrimination, any willingness or eagerness to hate, narrow-mindedness. We will exploit anyone who creates smoke to divert anyone from the fires that you build. We are the enemy of ignorance, all ignorance. If you suppress, we are the enemy. If you scheme, we are the enemy. If you use conflicts of interest to gain leverage, you are the enemy. If you are, in any form, an enemy of the public trust, then, of course, we are the enemy. If you believe facts are subjective and truths should be measured in shades of gray, then we are your enemy in black and white. And when you say there is no need for a free press, we are absolutely, unequivocally, your enemy. So now that we have established ourselves as your enemy, know this: We are not the enemy of the people. Our readers and the public are our allies against you. We represent the communities we serve; we are their reflection — good, bad and indifferent. They depend on us to collect, vet and present information in spite of selfish motivations. We are the watchdogs, sometimes the only ones who will stand up and say, “Hold on.” We will say, “I don't think so.” We can declare, “Out of line.” And we are not afraid to say, “You're wrong.” We will kick over stones. We will ask hard questions. We will separate facts from fiction. We will challenge you to prove yourself. We will ask you to think for yourself. We will force you to say “yes” or “no.” We will make you uncomfortable. We will hold on to certain issues like a dog with a bone, until we are certain our investigation is complete. We will also make mistakes. And we will own them and we will correct them. We will sometimes publish an incomplete story. But we try, at all costs (and with far limited resources than ever before), to avoid presenting something that could be construed as “fake news.” That does not serve our interest to be the vehicle for answers, information or truth. And if we are doing our job well, no one is ever really happy with us. But we earn respect. To those who say journalists are the enemy, we definitely are. We actually wear that charge as a badge of honor. We are proud of the work we do and the purpose that we serve. Because without us, or with even a hint of a state-run media, facts have no value. George Seldes was fond of quoting Abraham Lincoln, who, during the Civil War, once famously said, “I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts.” Seldes was an investigative journalist, correspondent, editor and author. He lived in Hartland Four Corners and died in 1995 at the age of 104. Over the course of his career, Seldes influenced many young people to become journalists. He also was hated for standing up to authority, both in foreign nations for his news coverage, and at home for his harsh criticism of the American press. But he did journalism a favor by being everyone's enemy and making us all squirm and question roles — both as consumers of news and newsmakers. James Russell Wiggins, a career journalist who worked for The Washington Post and later retired to Maine, summarized the thread of the Fourth Estate's purpose as this: “Americans will be tempted, in the years ahead, to sacrifice the principles that have made their country what it is. It will seem appropriate and convenient to meet the demands of crisis by bending a little here and giving a little there. It is an inclination that will have to be resisted at the first trespass upon our freedoms, or other invasions of individual rights will come swiftly upon us.” That day is here, friends.

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