Media in Review
Although not granted so by the
Constitution, the media are virtually America’s fourth branch of
government. The First Amendment (“Congress shall make no law ...
abridging the freedom ... of the press”) gives the media virtual carte
blanche to say what they will. Their only fetters are self-imposed rules
of ethics and taste.
The public has come to expect the
media to not only gather news but entertain and even be a civilizing
force and, more personally, a reassuring companion. We expect the press
to be reliable, objective, fair, and reflective of the real world.
Often, however, it falls short.
Media in Review highlights how the
media have served the public by promoting truth, freedom, and the public
good. It also explores, for example, the impact of the 24-hour news
cycle and talk radio. It delves into issues that media people wrestle
with in the newsroom and at journalism conferences, issues such as how
to cover racial tensions or use leaked information. And it examines ways
in which the press has compromised its ethics and objectivity in favor
of sensationalism, political correctness, or silence on uncomfortable
We present this collection with the
hope that it will inspire readers with a new enthusiasm and respect for
the potential of this “fourth branch of government” and that it will
inspire the media themselves to a yet higher standard of achievement.
You will find our selection of
articles within the categories at right.