Let the sun shine!

This is the first day of Sunshine Week. Here is a simple explanation of Sunshine Week from the Sunshine Week Web site:

“During Sunshine Week, participating daily and weekly newspapers, magazines, online sites, and radio and television broadcasters run editorials, op-ed columns, editorial cartoons, public forums, and news and feature stories that drive public discussion about why open government is important to everyone, not just to journalists.”

Working over the past two decades as a journalist, I saw just how difficult it is to obtain access to information that belongs to the public. This difficulty was not just at the federal government level — which has become increasingly sunshine free — but also at the level of small-town cops, city officials and state bureaucrats. The situation has become dire with the present batch of folks running the federal government. To paraphrase Still Bill Withers: “There ain’t no sunshine … “

When I got indignant over some government official not wanting to share that information that was legally the public’s, I sometimes thought that some of the pointy-headed imbeciles I dealt with had the very erroneous position that the information somehow belonged to them. It belonged to the police department. It belonged to Officer Krupke. It belonged to the city council. What a load of wrong-thinking crap!

No, no and more no. It also doesn’t belong to the journalist. It doesn’t belong to The New York Times. It doesn’t belong to Donald Trump either. Public information belongs to the public. And we should demand our rightful access to that information that is for the public’s consumption.

Let the sun shine in, brothers and sisters! Open up those government files and let it shine on in.

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