Some comic-book wisdom for the ages
"In a 1999 survey sponsored by the First Amendment Center, 53% of Americans
said they believed the press has too much freedom" (Haiman 73)
I disagree with 53% of America. But I agree with Thomas Jefferson:
"Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being
lost. To the sacrifice of time, labor, fortune, a public servant must count upon adding
that of peace of mind and even reputation" (Jefferson, qtd in Haiman 73).
I don't feel like I know enough about all the loopholes and difficulties of journalism to get overly opinionated about the state of the press. Things tend to get askew concerning journalism. For example, I know for sure that lying is wrong. Yet is misrepresenting a topic also lying? I'd say yes. But what if "the other side" refuses to comment or, as I feel is often the case, it's simply impossible to incorporate every viewpoint in an article? Is that misrepresentation still lying?
When these lines are blurred, as they often are, the public sharpens their pitchforks, heats up the tar, and gathers the feathers for some reporter hunting. Hey, I've been misquoted in the paper before, I know how frustrating that can be. And I agree with everyone who says reporters need to take heed not to abuse their power.
With great power comes great responsibility. In case anyone missed the Spiderman movie.
What bothered me about the aforementioned poll taken regarding freedom of the press is that it made me wonder what freedom would that 53% of America want taken away from reporters? What a slippery slope to stumble down. The public needs to also take responsibility for the news, because the public is what gives the news its power. Reward what's "good" news and watch discriminately.
*I'm not the only one whose spidey-sense went off at this message. For some more super-hero references check out Greta's blog. Michelle also talks about reader responsibility in her blog, and gives some ways to fact check our sources.