The Sumter Item is to be commended for running two commentaries appearing Thursday, Aug. 16, on its opinion page in response to our president's sustained attacks on the press. One by Tatiana Diaz, a student at Grand Rapids (Michigan) Community College, who aspires to a career in journalism, and the other by Margaret Sullivan, who is Media Columnist at The Washington Post.
Some 300 other papers of varying size and political persuasions across the country also ran commentaries that day addressing our president's broad stroke criticisms of the press. These seriously troubling attacks have evolved from first labeling individual reports critical of his words and actions as "fake news" to his now repeatedly accusing the press of being an "enemy of the people." You also published a more direct response penned by Jay Bender, an attorney who represents The S.C. Press Association and its newspapers, which was published on Wednesday, Aug. 8.
Again, you are to be commended for publishing these commentaries and participating in this nationally coordinated response.
But it's my understanding that syndicated and guest commentaries along with letters from readers do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Sumter Item. It would be enlightening to read your own official opinion concerning our president's ongoing efforts to cast doubt on and thus undermine the vital role a free press plays in our increasingly fragile democracy.
WILLIAM Q. BRUNSON
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