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By Carl Parker
For the Record 

Need to Know

 

Last updated 2/21/2023 at 12:20pm

Any student of American history knows the importance of a free press. Thomas Jefferson rated it at the top of his list of necessary freedoms and thereby placing it number one in our constitution. Unfortunately, too many people today do not share Jefferson’s attraction for openness in government.

A recent president saw no reason to share with the American people the sources of his income. Here in Texas our governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general have taken steps to keep information from the voters of Texas. Our attorney general, Paxton, chief law enforcement officer, refuses to tell why taxpayers should pick up the tab which represents the cost of defending him of a charge of bribery. Our lieutenant governor, Dan Patrick, has forbidden certified reporters access to the floor of the Texas Senate. Governor Abbott seems to have joined the march against openness in government by his recent State of the State speech. It was by invitation only. The speech is mandated by our constitution but it seems that our governor has ignored this by picking and choosing those he wished to inform of his future plans for Texas.


We, as concerned citizens bare the burden of seeking and paying attention to information we need when choosing our leadership or voting on issues which we face at the ballot box. With social media, tv, radio and a host of newspapers information should be available to any citizen who cares to assess it.

Another alarming fact about openness in government is that totalitarian governments most often begin with control of a free press leaving only information for the people as chosen by dictators. It is somewhat scary to know that some so-called news sources on television and otherwise are no longer objective in their reporting. In fact, I recall a time when the evening news was called just that, the “evening news”. It is significant now that too many so-called news programs label themselves as “shows” rather than news. A recent lawsuit against Fox news has revealed that even though employees of Fox news knew and admitted that Trump’s election had been lost, they proceeded to get on the airways and deny that such an occurrence had happened at the election.


 

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