Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Is It Even Possible To Have A "Free Press" ???

Here is a report about World Press Freedom Day and a student who won the associated essay contest about freedom of the press. I found this sentence in her essay to be the most instructive:

Now more than ever, it is important for the free press to portray the world without any filters.

You can read the rest @

Yes, it is.

But does anyone think this is what The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, or The Chicago Times does? I don't.

First of all, even in the best case they must filter the news for time and content; i.e., they must select the few stories they will cover each day which they think are the most important. There are over 7 billion of us, and we all have a story to tell. But obviously each of these stories doesn't get told every day.

Next, each of the 7 billion has their own filter. This includes reporters, editors, publishers, and owners. Seldom do they present the world WITHOUT a filter.

Additionally, much of what passes for "news" these days is opinion and interpretation. Everyone seems to have an axe to grind, and they do so daily.

Dear Jahnavi - I agree with you in principle, but please don't confuse the free press with the mainstream media. And don't expect anyone to not have some kind of filter.

Please also keep in mind that when repression does raise its ugly head, those who tell the truth are the ones most likely to be repressed. This principle suggests that the foremost truth tellers of our time are Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, and Edward Snowden. It's a shame you didn't mention them in your essay.

But then again, if you had I doubt you would have been the winner. And that, Jahnavi, is a great example of how "filters" have a way of creeping into everything we say and do.

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