It’s been said that we shouldn’t let the current state of politics become “the new normal.”
But are we too late?
There’s a different landscape than when I arrived on Whidbey fresh out of college. During my first weeks as a reporter, I wore a pair of Sperrys wrapped with gray duct tape. When the soles fell off completely, I resorted to a pair of bedroom slippers until I got my first paycheck. I didn’t make much money, and I didn’t expect to. I loved my job, I felt it was a calling.
The articles I wrote didn’t please everyone, but I believed they made a difference. Because I was fair and accurate, and my reporting was based on facts, I could look anyone in the eye that I wrote about.
I also felt a bond with the readers, and I had faith that truth would prevail.
That faith remains, but getting out the facts is now only half the battle for journalists.
Apathy is a pox, spreading through society. Until government action directly affects a person’s pocketbook, or an offense is blatantly illegal or immoral, there’s minimal interest in government accountability at any level, and the facts are no longer enough.
Take Alabama, for example, where being a Democrat is apparently more grossly disturbing than pursuing underage girls at the mall. Party is the priority over propriety and morality, and the growing mountain of evidence doesn’t matter.
Government is supposed to work for the people, and not vice versa, but too many have been gaslighted into believing that the truth is the lie and journalists the enemy.
Unless the truth starts to matter again, we are a society in deep trouble.
• Keven R. Graves is executive editor and publisher of the Whidbey News-Times and South Whidbey Record. Email questions and comments to him at firstname.lastname@example.org