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Look at what unites us, not what divides us

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Kudos to you and the Johns Creek Herald for two very thought-provoking articles about freedom of the press (April 27, 2017).

As an old lady, I have observed the history of this great land over decades. And I am alarmed at the vitriol today among our people.

My conclusion is that all of us, citizens and journalists alike, bear a heavy burden of responsibility for where we are today.

You are right: a thoughtful, civil conversation is in order, in fact, overdue. Active thinking with a clear conscience – NOT a conveniently seared conscience – is vital.

Although nothing is ever perfect, I remember the days when news organizations reported the unadulterated facts much more than they do now. News was not skewed by political or other selfish agendas.

Stories included some context, and if necessary, a degree of pertinent historical background. Important information surrounding the story was not purposely omitted, nor was questionable information added.

Journalists fully checked the veracity of their sources and waited until they were sure of their facts rather than reporting “news” quickly in order to be first.

Journalists and citizens alike could have differing opinions and still respect one another enough not to rudely interrupt one another. What I am describing tells how much journalism has deteriorated in America.

Why has this happened? Is it the 24-hour news cycle? Is it a deterioration of moral values? Is it that winning, no matter what, supersedes even our humanity? We need to think deeply about it and have an ongoing conversation.

Finally, all of us are in need of a self-evaluation. Why so much hateful gossiping, violent game-playing, Facebooking, porn-driven activity and the like?

Why such addiction to our cell phones to the neglect of face-to-face communication?

Why so much “knowledge” without truth?

Why putting out so much anonymous “information” without having the integrity to stand by one’s “information?”

Why are we not educating ourselves about the history of various parts of our world for greater understanding of its peoples and what has driven them to certain behaviors, political and otherwise?

Why aren’t we asking the right questions and seeking the full truth of a matter?

In other words, what are the provocations as well as the events?

My fear is that we may allow our many freedoms to slip out of our hands through inattentiveness, ignorance, mediocrity or not valuing the power of educating ourselves throughout life.

If we fail to understand our freedoms, if we fail to proactively protect them, we could lose them.

–Barbara Nalbantyn, North Fulton


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