“Fake news” and “enemy of the people” are catchphrases President Donald Trump has been using to denigrate national and international news coverage that he does not agree with or is critical of him or his administration.

Let’s consider that rhetoric at the local level – right here in the Northern Shenandoah Valley where daily newspapers are read by thousands of people each day. We’ve heard and read the president’s words repeated locally.  They are hurtful to our journalists because they know we strive for accuracy, and they know that they’re held accountable for what they write each day. These words are also dangerous because calling the media an “enemy of the people” could put our journalists in jeopardy of personal harm while doing their job.

We take our role in this democracy seriously. Our job is to watch over this valley and accurately and truthfully report the news each day.  Our journalists are held to a high standard so that we are a trusted source of local news – we have been since the 1930s and will continue to be in the future.

We do not write “fake news,” and we certainly are not the “enemy of the people.”  Yes, we have made mistakes, and we will make mistakes, but when we do, we correct them and will let our readers know what has been corrected.

The role of the press has been and will continue to be a defender of the First Amendment and watchdog over government and other areas of vital interest to the well being of our nation. The leader of our country should recognize the importance of a free press and not foment hate against it.