Does The Press Abuse Their Freedom?
by, 03-02-2011 at 09:50 AM (2134 Views)
The Constitution’s protection of freedom of the press, is the law of land and has been interpreted by the Court’s, “..to mean that government may place, no prior restraint on speech or publication.” (Dye & Zeigler. 132) In short, this interpretation by the Court’s is to protect the press from being silenced or censored, from any current or future publication. The American press uses this protection to market itself like any other business free from certain restraints; if they can do it encourage viewership and profit, they’ll do it!
As a result, we have seen a growing trend of “Sex Sells” and emotional impact news reporting that has left the good “wholesome” news, in the dust. The number of growing “Bad-news stories outnumber good-news stories ten to one.” (Dye & Zeigler. 128) It is not the abuse of the American press’s freedom, but more of the growth and profitability of a business, no longer monopolized by the limits of radio, television, and newspapers.
Some principled reporter’s have found themselves facing jail time for their efforts in serving the citizens and not the interests of government, by releasing sensitive but revealing information. In the case, of Judith Miller, the New York Times reporter who “..decided to accept a jail sentence rather than testify before a grand jury about one of her confidential sources,”(NY Times) this was a strong example. The releasing of sensitive material is nothing new, certainly to the New York Times, who won a famous ruling over the Federal Government when they published classified stolen material, known as the Pentagon Papers. The main discussion “..was the ability of the government to prevent publication of the stolen materials in order to protect national security.” (Dye & Zeigler. 132) but the “Supreme Court rejected the national security argument and reaffirmed that the government may place no prior restraint on publication.”(NY Times v. United States)
In the recent, Congressional and Presidential election’s I feel the media abused their influence over the audience, not their freedom. Any moral code was pushed aside, as with any formidable candidate that rose in opposition to the “elites” agenda. The Republican Congressman, Ron Paul, who in the first primary debates stood in opposition with the parties issues when he stated, “They attack us because we’ve been over there. We’ve been bombing Iraq for 10 years. … We’ve been in the Middle East,” Paul said in explaining his opposition to going to war in Iraq. “Right now, we’re building an embassy in Iraq that is bigger than the Vatican. We’re building 14 permanent bases. What would we say here if China was doing this in our country or in the Gulf of Mexico? We would be objecting.” Immediately, conservative media such as Fox News anchor Carl Cameron hammered Paul in the debate saying, he was “slapped down.” Next, “Fox News excluded Paul from its Sunday night Republican debate with the big five — Giuliani, Fred Thompson, Huckabee, Mitt Romney and John McCain. So Paul gets 10% in Iowa and gets excluded, but Rudy gets 4% and sits on the left end of the Fox Box desk. Hmmm.”(LA Times)
Bernard Cohen, makes a valid point when he wrote: “The mass media may not be successful in telling people what to think, but the media are stunningly successful in telling their audience what to think about.” (Cohen. 10)
Cohen, Bernard. “The Press and Foreign Policy.” Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1983. Print
Dye, Thomas R and Harmon Zeigler, Late. “The Irony of Democracy: An Uncommon
Introduction to American Politics.” Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2009.
“Judith Miller Goes to Jail”. New York Times, Editorial. New York Times, 7 Jul. 2005. Web. 1 Feb. 2011. < http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/07/opinion/07thu1.html >
Malcolm, Andrew. “Ron Paul, muffled by Fox, wows Jay Leno.” Los Angeles Times, Political Commentary. Los Angeles Times, 1 Feb. 2011. Web. < http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/wash...aulreigns.html >
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