In his March 13 op-ed, “Media should shine light on its own biases,” Gary Abernathy, editor of the Hillsboro (Ohio) Times-Gazette, argued that President Trump’s attacks on the media cannot hurt newspapers, that local newspapers such as the 200-year-old Times-Gazette are doing fine and that journalists at large newspapers should look in the mirror rather than at Mr. Trump.
Mr. Abernathy is wrong on at least one count and failed to address a fundamental issue.
An authoritarian president’s attacks on the free press can and do hurt by undermining trust in the press. Small, local newspapers, because of the local nature of their reporting, can demonstrate their trustworthiness (or lack of it) every day because many of their readers know a lot about the topics being covered. Almost no newspaper’s readers know firsthand about special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation, for example, and it is easier to undermine their view of the paper’s trustworthiness on that and similar national topics by attacking the paper.
Mr. Abernathy failed to address why decent people, which he claims — and I believe — his readers are, should tolerate, let alone support, such a thoroughly indecent man as Mr. Trump. We have not seen his like in office in this country for many decades, if ever. How could responsible journalists not point this out? They won’t find any information on this bizarrely indecent man in the mirror.
David Policansky, Nantucket, Mass.