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House should join Senate in defending free press

Dear Editor,

I commend The Advocate-Messenger for taking a clear stance in favor a free press (“America’s free press is not your ‘enemy,’” Aug. 16, 2018). Such messages are increasingly necessary given that a quarter of Americans now tell pollsters that they agree that the press is the “enemy of the people” (Quinnipeac Poll, August 14, 2018).

As Americans of good faith, we should have vigorous debates and disagreements over things like whether the public or private spheres are more efficient providers of healthcare insurance, which levels of taxation are optimal for economic growth, how to best balance the competing goods of national security and openness to immigrants and refugees, and how to best prevent tragic school shootings in a way that preserves the second amendment right to bear arms.

In a healthy democracy, though, citizens of all political persuasions should agree that a free press, imperfect as it is at times, is not our “enemy,” but rather an essential guardian of our liberty and freedom. The free press is what enables voters to have the information they need to hold the government accountable at the ballot box for its performance. This is an indispensable requirement for a free democracy.

I applaud our senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul for publicly adding their names to a recent unanimous and bipartisan Senate resolution stating that an attack on our free press is “an attack on our democratic institutions.”

I urge my friends and neighbors now to contact our congressional representative Brett Guthrie (https://guthrie.house.gov/contact-brett/) and respectfully request that he join with his colleagues in the House of Representatives to make a similar public statement in defense of a free press and our democratic institutions.

Benjamin Knoll

Danville