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Simeon Booker, a courageous and persistent advocate of truth

Eugene Robinson on

Booker's death comes at a moment when journalism and the civic necessity it seeks to provide -- truth -- are under assault. President Trump and his amen chorus are cynically trying to delegitimize news organizations whose work they find inconvenient. They seek to deny the existence of objective, ascertainable fact. Trump goes so far as to use his Twitter feed, with its millions of followers, to attack individual reporters and demand they be fired.

Journalism's response must be to tell the president -- politely, with all due respect to the office -- to stuff it.

There are facts. There is truth. We try our best to get everything right, but of course we sometimes make errors. When we do, we must correct them promptly and fully -- and move on. The only "fake news" is the self-serving rubbish Trump tries to peddle through insistent repetition. No matter how often he lies, it is our job to call him on his lying. Every single time.

One of the media's most important roles in our democracy is to hold public officials accountable, and if they don't like it, too bad. When they lash out at us viciously and unfairly, as Trump so often does, we should remember all the brave journalists who have faced much worse.

More than once, Simeon Booker had to escape from Southern towns where white vigilante mobs were on the prowl to "get that man from Jet." We should be able to withstand a few nasty tweets.

 

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Eugene Robinson's email address is eugenerobinson@washpost.com.

(c) 2017, Washington Post Writers Group

 

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