“With great power, comes great responsibility”
“There’s a case to be made that while the press has no constitutional duty to be fair, there is a societal obligation to do so. The press is like no other industry in American society. Its importance is acknowledged in the Constitution and its liberty is part of our nation’s foundation. Doesn’t the press have a duty to live up to its special role in our democracy?” (72)
I’m going to take a page out of Angela’s book with this blog and make a movie reference. When I read the quote above, the first thing that popped into my head was Uncle Ben’s advice to Peter from Spiderman, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” Peter Parker, like the press, has been given special powers/rights and along with these rights comes “great responsibility.” The press, as Haiman observes, has a unique right and power to write what they want and what they think is necessary. While the press does have some legal issues encouraging them to be fair, they can get away with a lot. However, if they abuse these rights they have been granted, the public will and does lose faith in them. As the survey Haiman cites shows, 53% of Americans feel that the press has too much freedom. News organizations have the responsibility to the public to be fair, if they’re not the public will become disillusioned with the news media and no longer trust them. It’s a reciprocal relationship. If reporters are fair, the public will trust them more and news organizations will make greater profits. If reporters aren’t fair, no one will believe them. News organizations have the responsibility to their readers, those they are reporting, and themselves to do their best to be fair and unbiased. As I’ve pointed out many times, it’s impossible to be completely objective, but that doesn’t mean reporters can’t try to do their best—just as Spiderman can’t save everyone and bad things will happen sometimes, he still does his best to save as many people as he can.