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The Failure of Our “Free” Press

"The ideal of freedom of the press, so crucial to democracy, is upheld only when its practitioners willingly challenge the so-called ‘facts’ of the powerful.”

By William Astore~

Do we have a truly free press, one that is willing to challenge the powerful and to serve the people?

A recent editorial by Arthur S. Brisbane at the New York Times suggests that our press is more lapdog than watchdog.

A truly free press needs guts. It needs to be willing to say, “I accuse.” Yet as Glenn Greenwald points out, our mainstream media today willingly acts as “stenographers” to the high and mighty, as if established elites need more support and more privileges.

The other day I ran across a passage in Arthur Schopenhauer’s Essays and Aphorisms that has much to say about freedom of the press as well as the perils of source anonymity. In full it reads:

“Freedom of the press is to the machinery of the state what the safety-valve is to the steam engine: every discontent is by means of it immediately relieved in words–indeed, unless this discontent is very considerable, it exhausts itself in this way. If, however, it is very considerable, it is as well to know of it in time, so as to redress it.

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