The cover letter on a recent “census” sent to probable Republican voters says it’s difficult to get the real facts with Democrats and mainstream media “constantly spreading fake news” about the president.

Where is the misinformation leading to so much anger and divisiveness in this country coming from?

It’s not from mainstream media, which though not perfect, is the best source of real facts we have. As a former reporter, I can say from my own experience, and that of fellow reporters on several newspapers, credibility with readers -- not to mention one’s job -- requires fairness and accuracy. Editors and copy desks doublecheck, questioning reporters, refusing to print what can’t be substantiated.

Social media doesn’t have those checks. It gives opportunity for many more voices to be heard, but the flip side is those voices don’t have to tell the truth.

A lie can go viral around the world within moments, and a fact-check that may follow has little chance of stopping the bleeding.

I firmly believe the press must be the check on government. Dictators, or dictator wannabees, don’t want to be checked. They try to crush it, violently or with words to mislead the public into thinking the press is the enemy.

Our current president very well understands a well-informed public is not in his best interest and is dangerously good at turning people against the media.

The only hope for this democracy is the mainstream media, and a public that cares enough to require the facts.

Joan Kent, La Farge

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