Professional journalists are important because they give us facts so that we can be thoughtful, informed, active citizens. Journalists from reputable news organizations do their research, check their facts and make sure their information is correct before they publish it. If they make a mistake, they correct it immediately.

That’s why Kellyanne Conway’s recent comments should send a chill down the spine of everyone who believes in democracy. President Donald Trump’s adviser asserted that false information Trump’s press secretary gave the press about inauguration attendance was merely “alternative facts.” But facts are facts. The information Trump and his staff is feeding us is not factual — it is propaganda, designed to make the president look more popular than he is.

I remember reading the terrifying book “1984” in high school. In George Orwell’s dark imagined future, leaders used propaganda to keep people in line. In his “Ministry of Truth,” workers rewrote history, telling lies to validate the leader’s actions. With Trump in power, are we living in Orwell’s dark world?

Those of us who believe in the American values of respect, integrity, inclusion and equality must speak out when we see lies being peddled as truth. We must tell our elected officials that truth-telling is essential to a functioning democracy.

Jane Davis


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