Newspapers cover everything but fake news

Even while he was running for president, the news media was a frequent target for Donald Trump.

During his August 2016 campaign rally in Altoona, Trump took aim at the news media, pointing out the reporters covering his appearance and encouraging jeers from the crowd.

So, it’s no surprise that attacks on the media continue to be a favorite distraction tactic for the president. But Trump has taken it to a dangerous extreme.

It’s common for any public official — really, anyone who is in the news — to like or dislike the coverage on any particular day.

Reporters and editors deal with this daily on multiple fronts. We realize people have different opinions, and while, for example, an official might not like how the story on a tax increase, a controversial spending plan or the police handling of an incident was written, other readers will see this reporting as a valuable public service.

The bottom line is just because you don’t like it, doesn’t make it unfair or “fake news.”

Despite what some might believe — or what the president might portray — the media isn’t some single-minded entity. And that is especially true when you get down to local outlets, such as the Altoona Mirror.

We can see why Trump and his supporters might have an unfavorable view of certain news outlets or stories. And it doesn’t help when news outlets — especially the 24-hour news channels — erase the line between news and opinion, merging 30 seconds of actual news with 2 minutes of political spin from multiple guests to fill time.

We at the Mirror take our mission to accurately report the news and serve our communities through steady, consistent leadership more seriously than ever.

We’re your trusted news source covering this region, from council meetings to local sporting events. For more than a century, we’ve built that trust with our readers by being fair, truthful and accurate in all that we do.

Our mission and our commitment to fairness has not wavered.

However, we’re finding that some of our work now is being labeled as “fake news.”

Why? Because our role as watchdog journalists is to hold the powerful accountable. That can include, at times, being at odds with the position of elected leaders.

We do make mistakes, and when we do, we quickly issue a correction. “Fake news” has no part in our business. Our goal each and every day is to provide our readers with a fair, truthful and accurate account of the happenings within our communities.

And when we publish opinions, such as editorials and columns, we work to make such commentary clearly identifiable, and we try to present a balance of views.

On our Opinion page, we look for commentary that offers a variety of viewpoints and makes arguments in a different way. Our goal is to make the readers think. We don’t expect anyone — or even our own staff — to agree with everything on the Opinion page.

If you agree with it, fine. If you disagree, fine. If it made you think, great.

Our nation’s founders saw the benefit of an independent press.

Congress — and, by extension, the executive branch — shall make no law “abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press …” mandated in the First Amendment to the constitution.

Throughout our history, presidents have been subjects of unfavorable reporting — and yes, sometimes inaccurate stories — by some in the press.

Yet none has attempted to pit the American people against journalists to the extent that Trump has.

Trump and some of his defenders insist he does not mean to tar all of us in the news media. But time after time, in tweets and at political rallies, he points to the press — all of us — and lashes out.

It’s time for the “fake news” talk to end. It does not serve the American people.

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