Today, newspapers, news magazines, and news websites across the country are publishing editorials in solidarity as our industry defends itself against President Donald Trump’s irresponsible attacks against the free press. Santa Monica Next has been proud to be part of a diverse media scene in Santa Monica and the Westside and is happy to lend our voice to this outcry.
It’s more than disheartening to watch the President go to war with respected news institutions such as CNN, ABC, the Washington Post and others while praising political talk shows for their “journalism.” The worst example is his praise for Alex Jones, a conspiracy theorist who has caused additional havoc and pain for the families of victims of gun violence for promoting the idea that the Sandy Hook massacre was some sort of play acting.
We’re not saying the press is above criticism. Indeed, if we believed the best way to deliver news was through mass media, we wouldn’t be working with smaller publications such as Santa Monica Next, LongBeachize and the Streetsblogs. However, there are many many many good people and talented journalists spread throughout the news industry at publications and broadcasts of all shapes and sizes. The verbal assaults on these people is heinous and while it needs to stop; we doubt it will until there is a major recalibration of the way many people view the journalists on tv, in their local paper and on their favorite, and least favorite, webpages.
While the president’s cry of “FAKE NEWS” has become a sort of trade mark phrase in a sea of incoherent statements; it’s important to know that the president is not alone in condemning press that he disagrees with. Our former editor, Jason Islas, despite being decorated with awards from the Los Angeles Press Club and American Planing Association for his clear prose and hard hitting news pieces, was routinely ridiculed by a small but loud group of people who didn’t agree with the conclusions that his journalism led him to.
This sort of harassment needs to end as well.
But today is not about Next, but about journalism across the country and the unique threat it faces today. We’re proud to stand with all our brothers and sisters in outlets big and small. We’re proud to be part of the free press.