by Lucas Thomas
Journalism is about preserving the ideals of free speech, something so important our founding fathers wrote it into the Constitution as the first right of the United States. This is an incredible responsibility that is not always met in current mainstream media outlets. In the 222 years since the Constitution was ratified free speech has evolved into controlled speech. Since the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987, the information presented through the airwaves has been pre-cooked and reheated, becoming carefully tailored news stories that resonate with fear and win public opinion. The repeal of the doctrine opened the window for the controlling of information, in subtle and sometimes unnoticeable ways, creating a system ripe for corruption.
The media is one of the vital aspects of a society with such potential for power that not even federal regulations can overpower it. So network news stations hiring former vice-presidential candidates should be met with public outcry. Unfortunately, this is just another subtlety gone unnoticed by the masses, oblivious to ask the simple question: How can this person present me with an objective point of view? Because, that is what news is, objective presentation of information, meant to be interpreted by the receiver, not the distributor. That essential, once most important aspect of journalism, has become a casualty.
Journalism in my life means a platform from which to speak. For this reason I don’t view it as a “job”, instead an embedment of life. Being a journalist allows me to live life while making a living, not live life after I come home from making a living. It is one of the truly unique professions where the line between work life and personal life isn’t even necessary to draw. That is what I value so much about studying this field, and the respect I have for it stems from the First Amendment. Free flowing of all information to the masses that deserve it. As a new generation of journalists emerges, we carry a certain burden of responsibility. We owe that responsibility to the men who signed the Bill of Rights. They understood that above all else, in order for a society to truly be free, the information available to that society must also be free. It is absolutely necessary. In order to fulfill that responsibility we need not to look any further than the First Amendment and the Fairness Doctrine. Consider it a restoration project.