They went to work every day with the understanding
that their job was not to toast celebrities, but to assess
their sincerity, maturity and decency.
Their obligation was to confront the noble adversary
in the debate, that being best argument on the other
side of an issue, not the worst.
Their charge was not to mistake for malice that which
is better explained by incompetence.
Their deadline was not framed by the rush to
judgment so they could win the reckless sprint to a
Twitter feed.
On the death of Willie Morris, Richard Ford said
Willie knew how to carry himself, which “required
him not only to look for the good in others but to
search for it diligently in himself.”
Our honorees knew how to press that search, and,
when necessary, report the painful evidence to the
contrary.
Their columns, their editorials, their biographies were
meant as a sanctuary of thoughtfulness and trust
even as the arc of the media universe turned toward
injustice.
Toward disinformation. Toward rancorous and
endless noise.
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