Not all government officials view the press as ‘enemy’

Donald Trump’s vendetta against the media, his spiteful message of the media allegedly being the “enemy of the people,” hasn’t filtered down to all levels of government.

And that, I want to declare, is a very good thing.

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel this week was honored by a county commission for its reporting on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre in Parkland, Fla.

A former colleague and a friend was part of the team that collected the Pulitzer Prize for its reporting and commentary on the massacre that erupted on Valentine’s Day, 2018. The Sun-Sentinel walked away with the highest honor given by the Pulitzer board: the award for Meritorious Public Service.

Today, the Broward County Board of Commissioners took time to honor the Sun-Sentinel for the work it did reporting on the hideous eruption of gun violence.

My friend, Rosemary Goudreau O’Hara (she’s in the center of the picture linked to this post), called attention to the recognition today on her Facebook page. The Broward County Board of Commissioners declared today to be Sun-Sentinel Day in Broward County and gave the newspaper’s team a plaque to commemorate it.

This is precisely the kind of recognition that many in journalism appreciate beyond measure. It is heartening to me, even though I sit in a faraway peanut gallery seat, to realize that government officials are able to give the media the bouquet they deserve.

That’s what happened in Broward County, Fla.

As O’Hara said today on her Facebook post: This was such a nice thing to do. It’s unusual, too, for government to applaud the Fourth Estate for watchdogging government, especially when everybody doesn’t like the coverage. With our president calling the media the enemy of the people, it means a great deal that the Broward County Commission today recognized the South Florida Sun Sentinel for our reporting on the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. It’s Sun Sentinel Day in Broward!

These elected county officials have demonstrated their understanding that a free, unfettered and aggressive press is essential to the society we cherish.

Congratulations to the Sun-Sentinel staff and many thanks to a county government board for giving that staff the honor it has earned.

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