From the Editorial Board: On the pursuit of truth

To those whom we serve: we are not the enemy. We do not aggressively pursue people for the next scoop. We are not uprooting the values of democracy. We strive to inform you, the public, of the truth wherever it may be hiding. Your support of a free and independent press is more important now than ever.

Over the past two years, President Donald Trump has relentlessly attacked the media. He has called them “fake news.” He has ordered that major news organizations be removed from press conferences. He has tried to devalue and diminish the influence that news publications have on the American people.

While President Trump has also made some legitimate criticisms reflecting many Americans’ feelings about the press (for example, the distrust in the corporate-controlled television news media), The Signal vows to uphold journalistic integrity and to practice due diligence at all times.

We at The Signal firmly support the First Amendment and Freedom of Speech. In his book “On Liberty,” Enlightenment author John Stuart Mill wrote, “The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is that it is robbing the human race…those who dissent from the opinion… If the [dissenting] opinion is right, [we] are deprived of the opportunity to exchange error for truth.”

United Nations Human Rights officials have said that Trump’s attacks on the media “run counter to the country’s obligations to respect press freedom and international human rights law,” and that they “are strategic, designed to undermine confidence in reporting and raise doubts about verifiable facts.”

Thomas Jefferson, founding father, third president and author of the Declaration of Independence, once said, “Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.”

A democracy is fruitless without the ability to check the people in power. Without a free, independent and trustworthy press, American citizens are left in the dark, vulnerable to a government that might not always have their best interests at heart.

A nation without access to true, fair reporting will follow behind its leader blindly and eagerly. History has proven countless times that leaders against free press use the media to sway public opinion in their favor and conceal controversial behavior.

Trump’s attacks on the media aren’t the only concern. The blur between television political commentators and journalists is also clouding the public’s perceptions.

Since the move to a 24-hour news cycle, it is more vital now than ever that people turn to those who are actively working to tell other people’s’ stories and inform the public in the most unbiased and objective way possible rather than the political commentators who may hold their own agendas. To fill air time, studios employ political commentators who tote the title of “journalist” and people trust them to report accurately, despite their obvious political alignments and opinions. Focus has moved off of content and instead onto the figures presenting such content themselves. In this, we see journalists glorified as celebrities, and instead of delivering unbiased information, they push their own ideologies as part of their bigger brand.

The Signal works tirelessly to actively supply its readership with accurate, objective and timely news. We are not the political commentators mentioned above. We are citizens who strive to know and tell the truth regardless of who it may offend or call out.

So today, The Signal is taking a stand. Not just against Trump’s remarks regarding distrusting the media but also against fake news or anyone who doesn’t like a story just for the truth that it holds. We are taking a stand against anyone who opposes our constitutional right to serve the public through journalism and to counter the authoritarian view of stifling that right.

The Signal Editorial Board