We are not the enemy

The Maui News has been serving this community since 1900. Our team is very proud of the fact that for over a century we’ve kept our readers informed on everything from governmental meetings to high school athletics.

We strive to be sure that news stories are accurate, balanced and fair. We occasionally err, but we publish a correction as soon as the mistake is brought to our attention.

Now we find ourselves caught up in the broad brushstroke of President Trump’s “fake news” era. The president regularly refers to the media as “the enemy of the people.” In reality, this is the president’s way of fighting back against media reports critical of him or his administration.

Sadly, we have heard a few murmurs that The Maui News has been guilty of publishing “fake news.” We can only assume these comments are coming from people who disagree with a story or an editorial that appeared in our paper. But, in fact, on a regular basis we run letters to the editor that disagree with opinions on this page and the content of news articles.

If we were committed to the dissemination of “fake news,” we certainly wouldn’t be running letters critical of our stories and editorials. But that is what a free press is all about — we want to keep our readers informed about what is happening in this community and we want to promote a robust discussion about those happenings.

The Founding Fathers believed so much that a free press was essential to our democratic republic that it put protection of that principle in the First Amendment to the Constitution.

So, please don’t buy into the concept of a free press as the enemy of the people. The first step toward authoritarianism is to stifle communication and the free flow of information.

We’d also ask President Trump to stop the talk of “fake news” and “enemy of the people.” He is playing a dangerous game that is a real threat to the freedom of this country.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.

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