Media indispensable to democracy

Published 10:59 pm Sunday, July 29, 2018

From a Wall Street Journal column by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah:

… Liberals and conservatives alike should commit themselves to rhetorical disarmament. During the Cold War, the U.S. and Soviet Union signed treaties to reduce the proliferation of nuclear weapons. In a culture war, in which words are weapons, both sides need to ease their inflammatory language.

Leaders from both parties play a critical role in setting appropriate boundaries for political speech. The effect of incendiary statements is especially harmful when they come from political leaders—be they members of Congress or the president himself.

That’s why, even as a strong supporter of President Trump, I have repeatedly encouraged him to use Twitter as a tool for good rather than as a cudgel for division. I have likewise discouraged him from calling the press “the enemy of the people.” Even with its flaws, the media is indispensable to our democracy. Insofar as reporters are committed to objective journalism and not political advocacy, they should be treated as noncombatants in the culture wars.