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Bridging The Gap
The Capital Gazette published today. Damn straight.
  Friday 29 June, 2018
The Capital Gazette published today. Damn straight.

he best part of an otherwise horrible day?

The Capital Gazette published on Friday.

Damn straight.

That's remarkable, considering that a man walked into its newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland, on Thursday and started shooting. By the time he was done, five people were dead, others wounded.

But the paper came out today. To those of us who actually work in the news media, and who have reported at small newspapers or television stations or radio stations, that's no surprise. The paper always comes out tomorrow.

On the other hand, I hope it shocks those who spend their time whining about a "corrupt media," as if reporting truth you don't want to hear is somehow "fake." The suspect reportedly targeted this newsroom specifically, having lost a defamation suit against the paper.

His actions are shocking. The climate in which they occurred makes them a little less so.

Yes, it was another mass shooting, an occurrence so sickeningly frequent these days that we run the risk of becoming immune to the horror.

But not this one. Not because it is any more tragic than one of the scores of school shootings or other senseless killings. They're all tragic — we should be angered and outraged and saddened by every single one of them.

This one, however, involves the media. Depending on your point of view, that could either mean crucial defenders of democracy or purveyors of "fake" content. Social media immediately divided into opposing camps, although you really have to question whether slamming dead people is the position you want to defend, no matter how you feel about the press.

For all I know, the suspect voted for Hillary Clinton. He may have no political agenda whatsoever.

But the people who cheered his reprehensible actions sure do.
Civility out the window

Reporters haven't topped any most-popular-professions lists in a long time, if ever. That's no surprise. But lately things have gotten a lot worse. President Donald Trump has labeled the media the enemy of the people. Those words carry significant historical import, but just by themselves they're irresponsible. Every time he holds one of his rallies, the rabid crowds boo the media, often at his behest. In the wake of Sarah Sanders being asked to leave a Virginia restaurant, there's been a lot of talk about civility.

Give me a break.

The president chucked civility out the window when he started running for office. His followers treat the notion with contempt. Should Maxine Waters, a Democratic congresswoman from California, have encouraged protesters to harass Trump supporters? No, she shouldn't have.

But a lot of people have been emboldened to say and do a lot of stupid, irresponsible things since Trump took office. You get the idea that some of these folks finally feel free to unleash their real feelings. Trump certainly has no problem doing so.

That, along with the willful ignorance of looking a fact square in the face and proclaiming it false, is a tremendous danger.
Reporting the truth, no matter what

But here's what people who haughtily proclaim that the media has some hidden, left-wing agenda don't get: Such accusations, false claims, threats and even bullets, won't stop us. No one gets into this business to get rich. It sounds hackneyed, perhaps, but most of us see journalism as a duty. I don't know anyone who's ever turned down a raise, but that's not why we do this.

We do it to find the truth, and report it. No matter what.

Say what you want. Think what you want. But remember this:

The Capital Gazettepublished on Friday.

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