Editorial: The real enemies of the people

November 20, 2018

Once again, President Trump has called journalists “the Enemy of the People.”

He said it Monday morning, effectively erasing the statements of unity and support for the families and community decimated by the hateful attack Saturday on the Tree of Life synagogue where a gunman killed 11 people at a religious service and shot six more, including four armed police officers.

“There is great anger in our Country caused in part by inaccurate, and even fraudulent, reporting of the news. The Fake News Media, the true Enemy of the People, must stop the open & obvious hostility & report the news accurately & fairly. That will do much to put out the flame ...,” he tweeted, picking up in his next post, “of Anger and Outrage and we will then be able to bring all sides together in Peace and Harmony. Fake News Must End.”

With 11 bodies waiting to be buried in Pittsburgh, the man who recently stood in front of a cheering crowd and called himself a nationalist is putting the blame on journalists.

Within hours, the third package bomb directed to CNN in a week was found in Atlanta even as a federal magistrate prepared to see the man arrested Friday for sending at least 13 packages, all to people who Trump has savagely disparaged from his phone.

The president is right. This has to end.

“Fake news” spreads conspiracy theories without proof.

“Fake news” hides its lack of facts with statements like “a lot of people are saying.”

“Fake news” creates fear with glee.

But questions that challenge are not fake just because they are unwelcome, and issues that need to be addressed are not hostile just because they are brought to light. “Inaccurate” does not mean “disliked,” and “fair” does not mean “friendly.”

Fake news is misdirection and “Wizard of Oz” artistry, and we may hate it, but in today’s political world, there are plenty of people who make their living spinning imaginary magic to distract others from what is going on right in front of them.

But shifting the focus off of 11 murdered martyrs in Squirrel Hill and the thousands of people who could have potentially been killed at any point along the path of a slew of pipe bombs? That’s a special kind of awful.

Peace and harmony, yes. We need that. We need to know that we are all in this together.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t have questions or disagreement, or that having different ideas is tantamount to assault and murder and an unthinking, callous disregard for the lives of those who don’t share exactly the same beliefs.

Harmony, after all, is not everyone singing the same part. It’s different parts, different notes, different voices, all finding their own way but coming together to make music more beautiful than any of them could be on their own.

So no, Mr. President, journalists are not the enemy of the people, and with the blood of our neighbors still splashed in a house of worship in our backyard, we reject that label.

The enemies of the people are all the dark things that drive people to kill. Hatred, fear, anger and their evil brethren.

We will not stop fighting them.

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