Sunshine Day 2020, which is Monday at N.C. A&T State University, celebrates open, transparent government, and there is a full slate of activities. I can’t go, but you should.
Consider where we are: A Republican senator and conservative commentators name the whistleblower who started the Ukraine investigation. The White House refuses to participate in the Ukraine investigation. President Trump is suing the Washington Post and the New York Times over opinion articles the papers published. In North Carolina, videos from body and dash cams worn by law enforcement can be released publicly only through a court order.
And of course, politicians starting with President Trump routinely demonize the news media.
The thing about the demonization of the news media — and the news media’s efforts to report on how the government operates in the dark — is that reporters don’t do it for their health. They seek openness and documents to help the public hold government employees accountable. Because President Trump refused all subpoenas during the Ukraine probe, vital information of who said what when was kept underwraps. The purpose of releasing the identity of the whistleblower is not transparency; the purpose is to intimidate others who want to reveal information about what the government is doing.
These are actions that affect the American public, not just journalists.
Before he became an associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, Louis Brandeis wrote: “If the broad light of day could be let in upon men’s actions, it would purify them as the sun disinfects.”
There’s a reason that government wants to keep its actions undercover.