Have you ever heard of “Freedom of Transportation”? How about “Freedom of Education”? How about “Freedom of Healthcare”? No? How about “Freedom of the Press”. Ahhh there we go, you’ve heard of that one. It’s a biggie actually – the First Amendment to the Constitution. Transportation and healthcare are important societal institutions, but freedom of the press is particularly special and deserving of constitutional protection. It’s not so much that the press per se is important as is our right to be informed. A functioning democracy requires the populace to be in the know, rather than in the dark. So we bestow upon the press a special status, with special rights.
Constitutionally they are entrusted to inform us. In turn, major news organizations specifically hold themselves out to be purveyors of “news”. Not only is our trust in the media implied, they explicitly ask us to trust them. “News you can trust”, “the most trusted name is news”, “reliable sources” are all phrases we have heard.
So when we see biased reporting that appears more to advocate a political position rather than inform us of important facts, it is more than just annoying or even unfair, it’s a serious breach of trust. It’s also an abuse of power. Under the guise of informing, they’re actually advocating. The practical effect is to undermine democracy by taking the public out of the decision making equation. You can’t make a meaningful decision without all of the facts. Worse, because the bias is not disclosed the public is made to believe it has all of the facts and the citizenry become mere pawns in a political game.
So excuse me and my fellow bloggers for being p***ed off when we see the media doing such things as feeding the public grossly skewed polling results on matters of grave importance as if those polls represent “the truth.”
Funny how doctors and lawyers go to jail for breaches of trust, but the media seems to get a free pass.
Welcome Polipundit Readers! Please look around.
Do you hear that? (crickets chirping) Things must be going well in Iraq. Our friends at OpiniPundit dug a little deeper and found this report of more insurgents getting a good ol’ fashioned southern butt kicking.
On the other hand, news from Afghanistan???? After ignoring one of the greatest democratic success stories in history occurring over the past year, they turned their cameras on for the Taliban.
I’ve had a couple of days to reflect on Terri Schiavo’s death. Below you’ll find pages and pages of our views on this matter. I wish to add my two cents on what I feel is the bigger picture, which seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle.
To those who sought comfort in the fact that Terri’s death came as a result of what appeared to be an extensive legal process, we must never lose sight of the fact that those processes are merely the means by which our society strives to achieve justice. Far too many appeared to be content with the fact that the process was fully played out according to the prescribed rules and procedures as if this was an end unto itself.
Pundits scoffed at the fact that morality and religion entered into the equation implying that these concepts have no place on our legal system. Yet our laws were founded on Judeo-Christian ethic. Murder is against the law because our society says murder is wrong. Stealing is a crime because stealing is wrong. These are not rules arbitrarily assigned to give meaning to our legal processes. Rather it is the processes that are created to give effect to our notions of right and wrong.
It seems that to some, right and wrong doesn’t really matter any more.
At 2:00 a.m. local time, Sunday, April 3rd, it’s time to set the clocks ahead one hour unless you are in Hawaii, Arizona or parts of Indiana.
Update: Reader newton notes: Or Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, BTW
This is a good time to test your smoke detectors and change the batteries in them.
This post will stay on top until after the time change.