Letter: Chris Manthos, Leesburg

Editor:  Our Bill of Rights is the most significant document of its kind ever conceived. The freedoms it guarantees are taken for granted by many. Of the five essential freedoms in the First Amendment, the freedom of speech and press are under assault (religion being currently persecuted by the state), and they have been for years. 

For those who value true journalism, we were astonished by the recent resignation of the New York Times editorial editor. He wasn’t canned by government edict or a jealous publisher. He didn’t tweet something heinous. He didn’t drive drunk or have an affair with a staffer. His thought crime was publishing an op-ed which his infantile news room didn’t approve of.

When reporters decide which opinions are suitable to publish vs. which are not, we, as a free nation are in a bad place.

Newspaper publishing has a jaded history in America as most of us know. True journalism is cherished by freedom lovers. In Loudoun, we’re extremely fortunate to have local papers. They increase our awareness and bring community into our homes. They serve as our public square by exposing us to the free expression of others. Most importantly, they’re our watchdogs against corruption and malfeasance by local government.

A 2018 study,Financing Dies in Darkness? The Impact of Newspaper Closures on Public Finance,determined when a local newspaper shutters, the cost of government soars. None of us would be mistaken to point out the cost of our local governments have increased despite our newspapers. I for one, long for our local journalists to be more aggressive in their reporting on the chicanery at Harrison Street and various town halls. Yet, imagine the schemes and scandals that would have gone unnoticed by the people without our local papers.

In an era where far too many receive “news” in 140 characters or via corporate hacks working in total collusion with political hacks, our local newspapers are more essential than ever.

Our local news must resist all forms of intimidation and threats to meet the standards of journalistic integrity. They way that’s accomplished is by the people-at-large strongly supporting our Loudoun papers. Politicians should be nervous when a local reporter approaches them for comment. They should know The People are asking the questions.

Running and working for an independent newspaper is tough business. Unlike corporate owned entities, they lack the means to subsidize their operations. It’s up to us, the People of Loudoun to demonstrate that support. I donate to local journalism because it educates us about our community, and reminds us that we must all be involved in that community if it’s to be successful.

Join me in strongly supporting those who provide us essential freedom.

Chris Manthos, Leesburg

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