Sunshine Week 2017


cjones03132017

Sunshine Week is a national initiative by the America Society of News Editors. It started in Florida and went national in 2005 and is recognized for a week every March. It coincides with James Madison’s birthday.

Freedom of information and access to open government is crucial to have a free nation. It’s a constant fight for the press from your hometown weekly to The New York Times. Politicians from each party attempt to conceal information from the public. These perpetrators are on city councils, county supervisors, legislatures (general assembly in Virginia), to the United States Congress to presidents. There are a lot of people in government who don’t want you knowing what they’re doing.

We’re at a point where it’s more crucial and threatened than ever. We have a president who can’t tell the truth. He is a man who promised to reveal his tax returns before the election and has yet to do so. Releasing tax returns is not a requirement, but it sure would be nice to know who he’s in debt to.

This president has also referred to the press as “fake news” and an enemy of the American people. Donald Trump wants you to believe lies and deny the truth.

If you’re fine with Trump’s attacks on the media and his attempts to destroy a free press, ask yourself these questions: How are you informed? Do you like facts and information? Maybe you’re fine with the press shutting down because you don’t believe them anyway, which usually just means you don’t like what you’re hearing. Do you trust politicians to be the only source of everything you need to know?

If you get all your information from sources like Breitbart and InfoWars, then you’re not informed. You’re choosing ignorance and dumbing down. Those are not news organizations. They’re propaganda.

A free press isn’t just important to people like me, who make fun of politicians, and it’s not just important to those who report on politicians. It’s important to you whether you like it or not.

To quote Hannah Arendt, a German-American theorist, who said in 1974 “The moment we no longer have a free press, anything can happen. What makes it possible for a totalitarian or any other dictatorship to rule is that people are not informed; how can you have an opinion if you are not informed? If everybody always lies to you, the consequence is not that you believe the lies, but rather that nobody believes anything any longer.” Gee, that sounds like she’s describing someone we all know today.

If she’s not smart enough for you then maybe you should listen to Thomas Jefferson. He’s smarter than all of us. He said “The basis of our government being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”

I’ll stand with Tom over Donald. How about you?

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4 comments

  1. Clay this cartoon didn’t load on the top of the page. I sometimes scroll down to see if anyone had commented on the older ones, so that’s why I saw it. For the record I’m with Tom too on this. I have subscribed to the local paper (we military) wherever we lived. In Germany we lived “on the economy” which mean in the civilian area of Germany as opposed to housing. “Stars & Stripes” was the first newspaper I got as an adult. Fun fact-Andy Rooney wrote for them when he was active! I would record the last 10 minutes of “60 minutes” just to hear his take on things. I’m glad I found your blog. It shows me what you in mind with your drawings. Many times you’ve informed me of things I had never heard of. Thank you.

    Like

  2. I think the rest of Thomas Jefferson’s quote also applies. Even to those ignorant people following the propaganda.

    “But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them…. Do not be too severe upon [[the people’s]] errors, but reclaim them by enlightening them. If once they become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress, and Assemblies, judges and governors shall all become wolves. It seems to be the law of our general nature, in spite of individual exceptions; and experience declares that man is the only animal which devours his own kind.”

    😉

    Like

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