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Journalism holds power accountable

By Leonard Pitts Jr., Tribune Content Agency on

So yes, all we can do is our jobs.

Frankly, I was initially dissatisfied with that answer. I was disappointed I wasn't able to offer some innovative strategy to turn back the tide of factishness and truthiness. Then it occurred to me: That's not journalism's responsibility.

No, our responsibility is to provide information, not to enforce the proper use thereof. I'm reminded of the old adage about leading horses to water. I'm also reminded of the motto of the Scripps company, which started life as a newspaper publisher: "Give light, and the people will find their own way."

We in journalism have, I submit, fulfilled our part of that bargain, doggedly if imperfectly. The question that will define the future is whether "the people" will fulfill theirs or whether they will choose to believe, as too many too often do, that partisan resentments justify factual apostasy. That's something they must decide. It's not journalists' call to make.

In 2018, as it was in 1971, our job is to find the courage to report the truth.

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It's up to the people to find the courage to hear it.

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(Leonard Pitts is a columnist for The Miami Herald, 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, Fla., 33132. Readers may contact him via e-mail at lpitts@miamiherald.com.)

 

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