National Sunshine Week is celebrated nationally each year to promote the benefits of open and transparent government and to remind the public that our government, as noted by Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg, is a “government of the people, for the people, by the people.”  This year’s National Sunshine Week, March 15-21, began Monday with National Freedom of Information Day.

It is coincidental that this event is occurring as the country grapples with a variety of responses to the worldwide COVID-19 virus pandemic.  It is in this environment that we should take comfort in knowing that our constitution assures us that while we are being required to follow government mandates, it is likewise a requirement that government be forthright in its reports to the public to justify its actions.

The Press writ large, including broadcasters, newspapers, along with a variety of recognized and trusted digital media sources, plays a major role in the effort to shed light on the actions of government. It for this reason that the press continues to promote the public’s right to know.

It is an age old problem that if we don’t like the message there’s a natural reaction to blame the messenger. Recently that has been the inclination of public officials and even the audience receiving the message. Terms such as “hyping the crises” or “biased reporting” have been used, particularly in the political environment.

But the news is what the news is.

The current situation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic is an example of an unpleasant message resulting in blame being attributed to the messenger. But the messenger, in this case the media, is doing its job of informing the public. The public in turn should be doing its job in responding to the message either proactively through acceptance of the message or in challenging the conclusions of the message. Faulting the messenger accomplishes nothing other than diminishing the facts.

But sunshine is not only mandatory just in cases of national events such as the current pandemic. It is vital at the most mundane levels of government, including municipal and county board meetings. It is in these venues that government has the greatest influence, impacting the lives and finances of individuals and businesses. This is where the local media, and particularly local newspapers, are important as they report on the activities and decisions of local government. But the job can only be done if openness and transparency prevail.

This week, as the nation reels from government decisions that are impacting every citizen, it is the appropriate time to appreciate the continued presence and persistent reporting of our various media outlets. The news may not be comforting, but knowing that we have access to the decision making process should provide some solace as we deal with a truly historic event that has no modern equal.

Just as ultraviolet rays of sunshine can destroy a virus, metaphorically, sunshine in the form of open government and free access to information will destroy the chaos and anarchy that is an anathema to the free and vibrant democratic republic which is the United State of America.

(16) comments

JusticeForAll

This is the problem. Yes, while sunshine can reduce/kill some viruses/bacteria, the way things are reported is critical. We can not assume that readers have the knowledge or inclination to look further than the words they read on one page, in one publication. Thus, we have those who think it is fact, when in all probability, it is partial fact, at best. The events happening right now, by our government, are not clear or focused. We are at their mercy and they are fully aware of that. Trying to discern fact from fiction is almost an impossible task in today's information overload world. Messengers need to be vetted, thoroughly.

It will take all the power the sun can deliver to make a difference, but in all

likelihood we are going to get burned.

DeadBolt

Mr Donald Trump circa 2012..... [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5Iuq8psx4o ] Please , listen to the remarks on China. (7 years ago) [wink]

JusticeForAll

Listened. What point specifically are you trying to make?

DeadBolt

Well....... tbh. Its about what Collins picked up on. I could post links with Trump 4 years b4 that saying the same thing. (or you can dig them out) , Main point for all the snowflakes is this is Trump's theme well b4 they sacrificed Religion for Politics. [wink]

David Collins

Suspect the point is that China , being a communist dictatorship as well a closed society , does not lend itself to the notion that they are our friends . They are adversaries as much as the USSR was and still is in it’s present form . Sure we can trade with them but with an abundance of caution , which we have ignored in the name of “ can’t we all get along “. Liberals often ignore the dark clouds forming because they are fixated on rainbows and unicorns . Well , one of those unicorns has just stuck the world where the sun doesn’t shine .

JusticeForAll

Have posted many times about my concern with China. My concern now is the over reaction to this virus. The biggest concern should be the economic downfall of this nation. The fall of the stock market, which should have collapsed years ago, has been held up by the Feds pumping trillions erroneously into it. We just print paper and call it money. This market's failure is not because of the corona virus. Just a convenient event that ties in with this crash. The market is done, but there may be a final gasp before it takes us into a depression. There were measures in place to deal with a pandemic, but the Trump administration did not fund them and ignores science. This is one source. http://nautil.us/issue/83/intelligence/the-man-who-saw-the-pandemic-coming?utm_source=pocket-newtab

In the meantime, go ahead and overlook that your personal freedoms are diminishing day to day. I will stand by the constitution, not by the government officials, Republican or Democrat, that are trying to sell snake oil.

dc

We're fortunate to have a president with common sense & backbone. If China doesn't already own us & most of the world it soon will if other world leaders don't get more like him especially in dealing with China. Seems the Black Plague probably started in China & was transported to Italy's area. Sound familiar? Looks like folks aspiring to a One World Order are well on their way. Then Communist Red China won't have to lie & tell the lap dog world that it was our military. Doesn't matter if the Chinese Virus came from vendors selling bats, cats & monkeys from whatever source maybe some even infected by those studying viruses & then selling them to vendors to make a little cash on the side. It's still not the Spanish Virus or the Mexican Swine Flu or our military's virus. It's what the media was calling it awhile back (i.e. the Wuhan or Chinese Virus). If it was made in America say it & if it was made in Red or whatever China then call it what it is especially if they are trying to place the blame on our military. If everyone but our president & a few others want to be PC fine but quit the BS about China. They are trying to buy up or take over the world by any means they can connive. They've stolen, infiltrated, manipulated, bought into, etc. just about everything that makes us the greatest nation on earth & over half of our populace don't seem to care. Sadly some of our so-called leaders have accommodated them. Mao is surely smiling.

dc

And, it's like Sec. Pompeo said it's not about retribution it's about Communist China being honest with the world in a timely fashion when it comes to the world's health. They probably own most of the world health organizations too so they can now seem the victim to all the fools they own & if they're not fools they are purposefully supportive of China's narrative of reassigning any & all blame. If anyone could devise a better game than the stock market they'd be smarter & richer than any of us. If you can't afford to gamble then don't. Lots of reasons we're drowning in debt with lots of books on it. One more book won't help.

David Collins

Wow , it is truly amazing what a bit of adversity mixed with inconveniences can do to people . Compared to WW II this is a walk in a rose garden . No wonder they are called snowflakes . Looking down at you with distain one day and a melted sobbing pile of quivering flesh the next . What’s up with that ?

NC-Native-Son

This blathering is why I do not read our editor's posts. It may be a sign of a medical problem.

DeadBolt

Perhaps someone could confirm with me the cases of this new plague covid 19 in Mexico? Do not use google search engine . I just counted virtually no death's at all, and in the entire country , 203 cases confirmed. ??? Thats strange. Just for giggles , try the search on google, heck, maybe its just me? I will mention to try duckduckgo search, as Mexico seems to be blocked out of this coverage and it seems to be immune to this current plague? Please let me know if you have actual info.

dc

If (and it's a very big if) you can believe China's stats & then take into account what our president has done & is doing & if our people will follow the guidelines we should come out in pretty good shape.

dc

"Life in the Time of Wuhan" by Clarice Feldman would be especially instructive to the Socialist Ds among us & a good read for the rest of us.

dc

"Why COVid-19 is a Product of the Left" by Christopher Paslay. And, maybe with the help of China & WHO.

David Collins

I’ll bet it is the lime in the Corona Beer .

dc

DB try this one: worldometers.info/coronavirus/.

Welcome to the discussion.

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