Most recently, a few news conglomerates were not allowed to be present at a White House press meeting. This unfolding event has been due to the recent battles between President Trump and what he calls “Fake News”. With all of the back and forth, it has become more and more difficult to determine what is hearsay and what is actually the truth. That’s where the press comes in because it is the job of the press to help determine what needs to be reported and what doesn’t.
What we currently do know is that the press is under attack and many have come together in support of the press. Many campaigns have been started while capturing the attention of celebrities and every folk alike invoking a sense of solidarity towards unbiased media and press coverage. The New York Times has even began advertising again. However, what is the purpose of all of this controversy? What is our democratic society with or without “free press”? That is the question that should remain on everyone’s minds.
In a democratic society, “free press” allows for the general public to formulate for themselves their own reactions and opinions about happenings within the United States and around the world. Through “free press”, the public is able to discern the media coverage as it happens and not as the government or major vested corporations says it happens. Without “free press”, the facts of a situation become blurred by various assertions and political biases. Furthermore, having “free press” pushes accountability of the society around from the everyday layperson to individual politicians and even the President of the United States. Through “free press”, institutions, political parties, and other decision making entities are held accountable for their actions whether they be good or bad.
Unfortunately, in our capitalistic society, the press is often controlled by vested interests making it that much more vital for individuals to read a variety of sources. That way, people of society can begin to delineate what they believe to be true instead of what someone says is true of what is happening at home and around the world. With the “press” under attack, it has also become all the more important for this to happen.
As the Program Coordinator for the J Student Reporters Program, I have witnessed the importance of journalism and the press. All of the student reporters I oversee write an array of articles in which they express their opinion about a pressing matter in the news or report on a major happening in their school or community and it is very important that they continue to have the freedom to do such things. I want to continually urge the students in the J Student Reporters Program and other student journalists to continue “pressing” the issues at home, at school, and in their communities.
News can be exhausting in the time of the Trump presidency but within the chaos of this presidency, I believe that the “press” – big or small – should still be validated as “real” and given the importance it deserves.