Enough with claims of ‘fake news’

It didn’t take long for President Donald Trump, once in office, to ramp up his “fake news” battle with several national media outlets, referring to them at that time as the “enemy of the people.”

The rhetoric though continues 18 months later as the term “fake news” now permeates all aspects of our national dialogue, becoming a catch-all phrase used by many to dismiss news reports that are truthful and accurate but that a person simply does not agree with.

It’s time for the “fake news” talk to end. Using a broad brush to paint all members of the media as “fake news” — from national publications and broadcast outlets to community daily and weekly newspapers — is not only untruthful, it’s harmful to our democracy.

Here at The Review, we take our mission to accurately report the news and serve our communities through steady, consistent leadership more seriously than ever. That’s a mission we’ve held firm to since our founding on Oct. 25, 1879.

We’re been a trusted news source for residents of southern Columbiana County in Ohio and northern Hancock County in West Virginia — from city council meetings to high school athletic events — for more than 139 years. Our reporting during this time has been fair, truthful and accurate.

The role of a journalist — at the national level as well as right here in East Liverpool, Ohio — is to hold accountable those in positions of power. That can include, at times, being at odds with the position of elected leaders of a local community such as ours.

Our mission has not wavered through the years. But today, when we take a position on our editorial page, or write a story including details some in authority didn’t want made public, we often are accused of spreading “fake news.”

That’s not only unfair, it’s flat-out incorrect and it’s harmful to our way of life in a free society.

We do make mistakes, and when we do, we quickly issue a correction. “Fake news” has no part in our business. Our goal each and every day is to provide our readers with a fair, truthful and accurate account of the happenings within our communities.

Our nation’s founders agreed with this approach, as they recognized that an aggressive, unfettered press is the best friend of a nation such as ours. They insisted upon it, in fact.

Congress — and, by extension, the executive branch — shall make no law “abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press …” they mandated in the First Amendment to the Constitution.

Throughout our history, presidents have been subjects of unfavorable reporting — and yes, sometimes inaccurate stories — by some in the press. Yet none has attempted to pit the American people against journalists to the extent that Trump has.

Why? Because presidents both liberal and conservative have understood that the press is a self-correcting defender of our liberties.

Trump and some of his defenders insist he does not mean to tar all of us in the news media. But time after time in tweets and at political rallies, he points to the press — all of us — and lashes out.

As noted earlier, Mr. President, it’s time for the “fake news” talk to end. It does not serve the American people.

We are the trusted news source in our community; we are not “fake news.”