On Wednesday, Jan. 6, three words were etched into the door of the United States Capitol building.
"Murder the media."
As a journalist, I am a member of "the media."
I am also a son, brother, loved one and friend.
I went to Lipscomb University and graduated with a degree in Journalism and New Media.
When I decided to pursue a major in journalism, I don't think I was able to grasp the gravity of the responsibility journalists take every day.
I took classes. From Communication Law to Media Ethics, some things were pounded into me.
In every class, we discussed how to find the truth and how to report it.
I was never taught that the truth should be second to profits or political agenda. I was taught the opposite.
I was taught that the only defense we have as a democracy is the free press. A free press that can expose lies and corruption.
On Jan. 6, a photojournalist was assaulted in the Capitol building. Her press credential was ripped away from her, and she had to hide for fear of being killed.
In the Capitol building of the United States of America.
Her camera was taken from her. That camera was her only weapon.
It was not a weapon made to attack but to defend. It was made to capture objective truth, so that we can see with our own eyes and react as we may.
Rioters destroyed Associated Press equipment on the lawn. But AP was only there to tell the world what was happening at that very moment.
I am not your enemy. You are not mine.
Lies are our enemy. Truth is our ally.
Journalists are our best chance to see what is really going on. Our founding fathers came to that decision over two centuries ago, and it is still true today.
Please do not simply shake off what happened on Jan. 6.
Please remember those words.
"Murder the media."
That is a death threat.
It is a death threat to me, but more importantly, it is a death threat to democracy.
Joel Clinger is a sports editor with Main Street Media of Tennessee.