Uphold freedom of the press for the sake of democracy

March 2, 2018 GMT

There are a variety of media outlets in a large number of formats, and there is THE MEDIA. We have allowed the latter term to become generic and to take on a negative connotation. This allows many to throw up their hands and declare their distrust of all of THE MEDIA. We even have in currency now the concept of “fake news.”

People can avoid the hard work of fact checking and critical thought, of understanding context and history. They can accept what confirms their own prejudices and serves their own narrow interests — in short, they can self-assuredly believe what they want to believe with neither effort of thought nor emotional discomfort.


Spokespersons for special interest lobbies want the larger public to distrust all media because the best, most responsible media outlets, those working hard and risking much in service of truth, are the major check and balance against false propaganda purveyed for political, ideological, and economic motives.

Reporters go to active scenes of war, social conflict, natural catastrophe risking their own health and well-being to bring us “real” news. They bear witness to suffering we might rather ignore. Investigative journalists subject themselves to the harshest retaliation; imprisonment, torture, threat to life itself, in order to expose corruption, illicit activity, abuse of power.

Sure, as consumers of media products we should be cognizant of raw careerism, sensationalism for the sake of ratings and profit, demagoguery for political gain.

We must, however, value and uphold freedom of the press, respecting those working hard to maintain its integrity while disavowing those who undermine it for their own narrow purposes.

Otherwise, we participate in the demise of our democracy.

Daniel C. Hudson