THE FOURTH ESTATE IS DEAD IN AMERICA


When I was in the Air Force, I followed the Watergate story in the Washington Post every day until the rest of the news media caught up, and even then, the Post was my main source of news about Watergate. And as a journalist, I was proud of the Post for its vise-grip on the story, and its dogged determination to follow it to the end.

At the time, I never considered whether the fact that Nixon was a Republican had anything to do with the Post’s determination to dig out the facts of the story and print it regardless of its fallout; I just assumed that any journalist, and any news organization, would do that, whether the subject was a Democrat or Republican. Indeed, during the Watergate period, news media whose editorial policies were both Democrat and Republican followed the story to conclusion, as we would expect news media to do today.

But times have changed. There are sufficient questions surrounding the attack in Benghazi and the death of the American ambassador to Libya to make a real journalist salivate and dig relentlessly to uncover the truth. But is the Post doing that? No. And neither is any “news” medium whose editorial stance is pro-Democratic. They all should be ashamed of themselves. I certainly am ashamed of them.

That leaves Fox News as the only “news” organization digging to get the story, and one wonders if the events had happened under a Republican president if Fox News would be as lackadaisical as the Post is now in pursuing the story. One also wonders how diligent Fox News would be if the events had occurred after the election, and whether the pro-Obama news media will pursue the story more diligently after the election, should Obama be reelected.

The Washington Post and other media survive now as instruments of party or presidential propaganda rather than “news” media. It is the job of the Fourth Estate to protect the people from government by letting them know what the government is doing; by spotlighting the unconstitutional and other misdeeds of our government. Given that the media no longer performs those functions, what does that say about how long Americans can remain a free people?

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