Part 1: Acknowledging The Problem
Brace yourselves, folks. There’s an outside chance that the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting might just be given to The National Enquirer. Even more shocking: It would be well-deserved. I can almost hear their commercials now: “Looking for the best in in-depth coverage? Forget Time, Newsweek and US News and World Report. Go straight to the only dependable source: The National Enquirer!”
When the best source of reliable investigative reporting is the National Enquirer, it’s time to break out the thermometer and check to see if the ambient temperature in Hell has reached 32 degrees Fahrenheit yet. If not, it’s getting mighty close.
By now, anyone with a passing interest in current events knows The National Enquirer uncovered the affair between former Senator John Edwards (D-NC) and one of his campaign workers. Read Alan’s post below for more info on the level of stupidity Edwards has managed to achieve on his own. We have also learned from the Enquirer that they uncovered the story back in October of 2007, and literally tried to GIVE the story to the mainstream media. But the mainstream media decided not to “get involved” with the story due to the source (The Enquirer).
But when I look at the Edwards story, and how the mainstream media made a conscious decision to ignore it for ten months (during which the subject of the story was running for his party’s Presidential nomination), it becomes painfully obvious that there’s a subjective journalistic agenda at work which is indicative of a far more serious issue facing this nation: the loss of quality, unbiased journalism the public can count on. And if you don’t think that’s a serious issue, it is time for a reality check.
The significance of biased journalism in any society is a serious invitation to both political and social calamity. It can play a vital role in the collapse of a government or the downfall of a society. Far too much for one rant to cover, in upcoming chapters, I will address the specifics of how the loss of quality journalism in America is like removing one of the support beams in a once-sound structure.
In the end, the concept of a free press relies on the existence of several key ingredients:
- A government progressive enough to guarantee within its constitution the freedom of the press to print without fear of political persecution
- Responsible journalists who exercise that freedom in a fair and unbiased manner.
- A public that demands the utmost in responsible, accountable journalism; nothing less.
The absence of any one of those ingredients renders the concept of a free press moot. We have a Constitution that has guaranteed us the first ingredient and has done so for well over two hundred years. Sadly, however, we appear to have misplaced the last two ingredients and have no one to blame but ourselves. There are literally hundreds of millions of people who yearn to live in a land where they can count on a free press as a source of dependable information presented in a responsible manner. How tragic, then, when you realize we’ve had that privilege in this country since day one, and we’ve chosen to squander it. In my next post, I’ll examine how we got here and what (if anything) we can do to undo the damage.