The accusations hurled at journalists sound a lot like headlines pulled from old-time newspapers. You can just hear the paper boys on the street, hawking the latest edition.

Fake news!

Enemy of the people!

Liberal media! Republican rag!

Read all about it!

But of course the aspersions aren't just splattered in ink on paper.

They're also tapped out on keyboards and thumbed on phones and shouted into TV cameras and bellowed in radio studios, then scattered across the world through websites and social media and telecasts and broadcasts.

Welcome to the age of information — and misinformation.

Everyone has an opinion, and everyone has a way to get it to everyone else. And many people — both distributors and consumers — don't really give a damn (or are unable to discern) whether it's based on truth.

So the very organizations that are under attack — the news media — are more important now than ever.

When I write of the "news media's" importance, I don't mean Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity or Steve Bannon. And I don't mean Keith Olbermann or Jon Stewart or Rachel Maddow. I don't mean Fox News. And I don't mean MSNBC.

I'm talking about new organizations that are less committed to political perspective and more committed to reporting the fair and balanced truth.

Welcome to your local newspaper.

The Herald Bulletin, like most of the thousands of other community papers across the country, is on a mission, a mission to provide you with the most important, most interesting local news content. Without a political agenda.

Yes, we have an editorial page and an editorial voice. Every self-respecting paper should have one. But even there, we're committed to a balance of perspectives, publishing letters from readers, essays from columnists and political cartoons that express a range of political thought.

Our greatest responsibility is to watch government closely to assure that the rights of the people aren't violated, that sound public policy is implemented, that tax dollars are used wisely and that corruption doesn't proliferate.

This is Sunshine Week, and newspapers across the country are calling attention to this profound responsibility. The more that reputable news media come under attack, the greater the responsibility becomes.

Those who would snuff out the light of journalism are the real enemies of the people and the true enablers of fake news.

But they should know this: Whatever the economic conditions, whatever the pressure exerted by politicians, whatever the risks, we will not relent.

— The Herald Bulletin

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