While it isn’t a part of the government, the press serves a vital function for the United States and its citizens. When they are doing their jobs correctly, journalists inform and educate the public on news related to the government and current events. Throughout the country’s history, reporters have been responsible for giving Americans the information they need to understand what is happening in the country and even in other areas of the globe.
First Amendment and the Press
Along with other essential rights, the First Amendment to the Constitution protects the ability of the press to carry out its duties. It reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
This means that the Constitution forbids the government from passing legislation the prevents the press from reporting the news to the people. It cannot interfere with reporters who are investigating and publishing news stories.
What Are Journalists Supposed to Do?
This protection is necessary because, in many cases, a journalist’s job is to report on the actions of the government. It means that reporters may find themselves investigating wrongdoing by state officials. Having a prosperous nation means that the citizenry must have the information needed to check government officials who abuse their authority.
There are several different types of journalists. Some report on crime in your city. Others report on economic issues. There are reporters who cover things that the president is doing. Each journalist tends to have a specific type of subject that they cover. But their overall objective is to make sure their audience is as informed as possible with accurate reports.
Journalists vs Activists
A free press also has responsibilities – especially the responsibility to remain unbiased, and to seek out the truth no matter what.
Unfortunately, some reporters don’t try to just report on the news of the day. Many journalists use their platforms to influence their audiences instead of informing them. These individuals are supposed to only report the facts as they are revealed without giving a political opinion or attempting to persuade their readers to believe a particular narrative.
Journalists who show bias in their reporting are detrimental to American society because they only present facts that make their favored political party look good. This means that people are not fully informed about important issues that affect their lives. When this happens, it becomes easier for corrupt government officials to get away with illegal or unethical behavior. This trend could easily lead to tyranny and oppressive government.
This is the reason countries that are governed by dictators don’t have a free press. In order to maintain control and stay in power, these totalitarian governments do not allow reporters to write about stories that could make them look bad. When members of the press do their jobs the right way, they protect the American people from being victims of tyrannical behavior from the state.