THE CONCEPT OF a free press is essential to the future of America. That’s why we should all be concerned when the idea is floated around that the press is “the enemy of the American people.”

A free press brings transparency to the dark side of politics and business behavior of all sizes. Just imagine what the history of America would be like without a free press. That’s why the Founding Fathers protected it in the First Amendment.

As the world has changed, it has become clear that parts of the media are flawed, especially with the growth of social media. As a result, some members of the media are biased. Sometimes the press gets the narrative wrong. Some people employed by the media have an agenda.

Even if you take into account the missteps of the media, the overwhelming amount of journalism practiced in this country is honorable and admirable, and necessary, wrote Mitch Albom, author and sports columnist for the Detroit Free Press.

Despite what President Donald Trump says, without a vigilant press, who would shine the light on the characters that lead us and question the conduct of our rulers in an attempt to keep them honest?

Trump’s exaggerations and outright misstatements have Americans wondering if the truth matters anymore. At the same time, his political opponents spin the truth in a way that distorts the facts.

Politicians and pundits believe they are free to tell lies as long as they support their beliefs. Ideologies based on untruths have always been the means to destroy democracies.

Do you know anyone who still trusts the media? How about the political class? How about the corporate complex? We’ve been lied to by a lot of major institutions. We are under siege by so many scammers that we don’t know who to trust.

A free press is responsible for informing you of virtually all of what we know outside of our own homes, neighborhoods and workplaces. As consumers, we do have an obligation to study the news, make informed choices and sort through the clutter.

The free press warns us about devious commercial practices, health dangers, scams and crimes, and tries to inform us about ways to make our personal lives better for us and our loved ones.

So, don’t let anyone, especially the president, tell you that all media outlets are the enemy of the people.

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AMERICANS ACROSS the country, of all parties, are making a federal case out of “foreign meddling” in our elections, especially from Russia. It’s an attack on democracy and we should be doing everything we can to stop it.

How dare a foreign country encourage and participate in any organized endeavor that would dare to try and influence the outcome of our elections?

Just because the United States chooses sides in foreign elections and does what it can to support friendly candidates around the world, that doesn’t mean we will tolerate that behavior here. Shouldn’t our people be smart enough to recognize foreign-based meddling?

Just wondering. What’s the difference between election meddling by outsiders and the rampant use of political advertising based here in America that is filled with inaccurate, misleading and intentional falsehoods designed to deceive us?

Candidates and political action committees fill our postal mailboxes, electronic inboxes, social media platforms with garbage. Candidates and special interest groups use radio and television to run ads that are more blatantly misleading than any foreign deception.

We don’t seem to be as fighting mad when candidates lie, distort the truth and run ads maligning their opponents and their positions. We still elect them and are then surprised when they become part of the Washington Beltway “swamp.”

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WE’RE ALL aware of the national debate regarding the national anthem protests that have divided Americans along partisan, racial and ethnic lines.

NFL players kneeling during the national anthem set off a firestorm across America sparking discussions in homes, offices and coffee shops.

Protesting players are demanding a special right that no other employees have: to use the workplace to pursue their political causes. The players say the protests are not about the anthem or the flag, but are a protest against police brutality, racism and social injustice.

Is it acceptable for pro and college athletes to kneel, take a knee or raise a fist while the anthem is being played prior to a game? They argue it is a First Amendment right, but does this silent protest while at work cross the line and show disrespect?

Opponents of the protest concede that the players can protest on their own time, but they shouldn’t do it while at work, especially when their employers are against it.

If you have no problem with athletes doing it while at work, what would you say if our military troops or police officers decided they would join this form of protest while in uniform?

What if a formation of military troops and law enforcement officers were standing at attention at a solemn occasion and when the flag was presented, and the anthem was being played, 20% of the men and women dropped to a knee to bring attention to a cause near and dear to them?

How would those watching react? How would senior officials and dignitaries handle the situation?