Enemy of tyrants

Fear of the media is fear of the truth, or disregard for it or, in the worst case, both. I’ve been writing news stories in Texas for 48 years, by my count more than 65,000 of them, and none were fake.

Especially in this day, media and the news it presents are the check and balance on government, the overseer of the Constitution and the “bringer of light.”

I’ve worked for three major newspapers in Central Texas and one in West Texas; two television stations in Waco; and a half-dozen radio stations since I started in 1970. For the past 20 years I’ve supervised more than one newsroom. I owned a radio station and a newspaper, so I know the business as well as the media side. And I never saw anyone in any of those newsrooms tell a fake story. Not once.

Think of those who preached fear of the media in the past such as Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein. Think about what their bridling of the media ultimately did to their people. What Americans need to truly fear is anyone who proposes fear of the media, because ignorance is the playground of those who would suppress you.

I don’t care about your political affiliation, your race or your background. If you think this country is great and founded on the principle “all men are created equal,” then start acting like it.

Your neighbor is entitled to his opinions, whether you share them or not. Trying to influence his thinking by calling him a “libtard” or some other vengeful name is about as un-American as it gets.

Go to church on Sunday and listen to your preacher. Read the Bible and you’ll see without question: You are your brother’s keeper and you have a responsibility to your fellow man, like it or not — and Jesus, whether President Trump likes it or not, was a liberal. Oh, and by the way, that religion thing is a personal freedom issue as well.

If you believe the media is to be feared, I truly feel sorry for you because every day you must feel lost since you’re missing out on what really matters around here.

Paul Gately, KWTX journalist, Robinson

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In every totalitarian and fascist regime, suppression of the free press is the very first order of business. A free press is not just another newspaper; it’s vital for democracy to survive. How else can a free people make informed and intelligent decisions about the safety and security of their country? How else will we expose the corruption in those deep dark spaces unless the free press shines a light on it?

It’s not necessary to close down newspapers in order to kill the free press. By constantly telling a non-reading, low-informed electorate that all news is fake and that all journalists are lying and out to get you, be assured: The truth will eventually die. Many in our electorate see Trump as the sole authority of truth. If this is your viewpoint, you have accepted totalitarianism. When democracy is under attack, the only salvation is that self-governing citizens remain informed. And an informed electorate starts and ends with courageous journalists. The greatest fear of authoritarianism is survival of the free press.

Sandra Blankenship, Killeen

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