Did you know this is Sunshine Week?
Or also when we are supposed to observe Freedom of Information Day?
It was started in 2005 by an Editors group, and joined in by other journalists groups, such as the Society for Professional Journalists (SPJ-to which I belong) to point out the critical need, for all citizens of open government and freedom of information at all levels, federal, state and local.
The Associated Press reported that in the first year of the Trump administration more requests for public reports by journalists were censored when delivered, or reported as “couldn’t find” than in the previous decade of Obama and Bush. In Kentucky, our attorney-general, charged by law with handling similar requests—as well as those challenging violations of our excellent “open meetings” law, is constantly reporting that various state and local government units are still violating the law; thus keeping the citizens who elected their members from finding out what they are doing.
Do not think such violations are small potatoes, or have you forgotten, already, Watergate—when 2 courageous reporters kept after the Nixon administration until it fell from its own weight of breaking the law, lying to Congress, and other “high crimes and misdemeanors”; or the earlier Pentagon Papers (subject of last year’s movie “The Post”) where our government lied and lied to everyone about the Vietnam war, where thousands lost their lives, and so on.
Yet the MSM (main stream media) does a bad job of reminding us of how important they are. I saw one mention of Sunshine Week in a national media, zilch in our 2 main papers.
The Founding Fathers knew better. They wrote “freedom of the press” into the First Amendment (thanks to James Madison, whose birthday is this week and why we celebrate it.) (Education isn’t mentioned in the Constitution, but freedom of the Press is.)
But that Freedom is NOT exercised for members of the press, but for you. Badmouth MSM all you want, we have our faults, but trying to exercise our rights, on YOUR behalf, isn’t one of them. I just wish we would do a better job of explaining to you, why.
I'm just sayin'...