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Opposite Sides

I worked in the newspaper business for over 40 years and I can tell you that the animosity between politicians and reporters is nothing new. The reason is simple. First-rate reporters have a job to do and are not easily charmed or swayed by the slick style of a person determined to amass power through the democratic, or in the case of the United States presidency, not-so democratic process.

I’ll never forget my first press conference with Gov. James Rhodes of Ohio in 1975. He’s the governor who ordered the Ohio National Guard to defend Kent State University from its own peaceful demonstrators in 1970 resulting in the killing of four students. I was suckered in by the governor’s answers to questions and believed every word. I was new to the newspaper business and sat with one of our experienced reporters, Tom Price.

On the way back to the office, I told him I thought the governor made a strong case and had good answers. Tom told me it was all bullshit and the next day when I read Tom’s story, I saw it. The governor had lied in most cases and stretched the truth in others. Tom backed his news story with facts, figures and some journalistic digging. And that’s why politicians don’t like reporters. Reporters are not there to be manipulated the way the average person is. Reporters are after the truth and they have the facts to back it up. Steve Bannon says the press is the opposition party. All I can say to the press is thank you. Keep up the good work.

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