In a betrayal by Ecuadoran President Lenín Moreno, who had pledged to continue ex-President Rafael Correa’s policies, and of international protocols regarding political asylum, Julian Assange — arguably the most important investigative journalist alive today — has been abandoned by his pledged protectors and arrested by the UK on behalf of the U.S. (of which Assange is not a citizen) on charges amounting simply to exposing facts to which our public is entitled.

No professions other than journalism are singled out for protection by our Constitution, by the First Amendment no less. And for good reason. A democracy cannot function without salient and accurate information enabling fulfillment of our citizenship duties. Journalists' protected status includes an implicit duty to provide unabridged truth to our citizens. U.S. journalism has failed this responsibility miserably and consistently, stenographically reciting government lies about WMDs in Iraq and similar propaganda about every other regime-change targeted leader since, currently Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro.

Predictably, 77 percent in a recent survey distrust the mainstream media, half of 2016 U.S. voters identified with neither main political party, and independent and citizen journalism is ascending. Journalists must stand up and defend their best and bravest or deservedly lose respect and employment.

Jack Dresser, Springfield