Mike Barnicle describes the atmosphere in the Trump White House as a “combustible concoction of chaos.”

The head scratching, mind befuddling tweets, the grandiose self promotion and the bizarre ties to Russia and authoritarian Vladimir Putin should caution even the most loyal Trumpster to reassess his latest tweet.

Meanwhile, we have another authoritarian with “pudgy cheeks and a bad hairdo,” Kim Jong-un, experimenting with nukes in North Korea. We have former Breitbart executive Steve Bannon in the White House and Wiki-Leaks disclosing a vault of national security secrets. Finally, we have a president who decries the media as “the enemy of the people.”

In these difficult and insecure times, we need a robust Fourth Estate now more than ever. Sadly, the print media in this digital age are struggling to survive. Through social media and an increasingly balkanized array of electronic media, people can cherry pick their sources of information to comport with their established views.

The reality is that there are facts and there are opinions. There are also professional, responsible media and there are propagandists.

Our democracy is dependent upon an informed citizenry who make every effort to become knowledgeable on public policy issues and then cast a discerning vote based on real facts, not alternative ones. Our national security and our future require everyone (regardless of predisposed thoughts on these matters) to judiciously peruse the information landscape and separate “the wheat from the chaff.”

Jim Schroeder

Port Republic