Keller @ Large: Why The Role Of The Press Matters

BOSTON (CBS) – On Friday I’ll be emceeing the annual New England First Amendment Awards on behalf of the New England First Amendment Coalition, a group of citizens who, according to their mission statement, “believe in the power of transparency in a democratic society,” and they work with others to preserve and promote access to public meetings and documents and proper compliance with freedom of information laws.

It’s an honor for me to be involved with this event because I strongly believe that the news media, whatever its failings, provides an essential service to our country, most notably skeptical oversight of what people with power are doing.

In an interview on CBS This Morning Thursday, New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet, who has seen his newspaper become a special focus of President Trump’s continuing attacks on the media, call this “the most clarifying moment we’ve had in a generation about the role of the press,” and some recent poll numbers explain why.

Only 24-percent of respondents think the media deals fairly with all sides, while 74-percent believe they tend to favor one side, a clear warning to the media to get their act together. In this climate, it’s no surprise that 64-percent believe fake news has caused a great deal of confusion.

When those charged with truth-telling stumble, it creates a vacuum eagerly filled by liars.

And these results make the work of the New England First Amendment Coalition more crucial than ever. We have to work harder to regain public trust and assure people we are honest brokers.

The Quinnipiac Poll shows 52-percent of voters trust the media to tell the truth, while 37-percent trust President Trump. At least these numbers suggest a majority of you still look to us to deliver.

More from Jon Keller
Comments

One Comment

  1. I have never mistrusted the media more than I do now. And the Presidential campaign pushed me to clairy for myself whether there was a legitimate reason that I feel that way.

    And it seems to me, that powerful men, wealthy men, begin to believe that they are more important then the rest of us and because of their wealth they can step over the bounds of what is best for society and do what they want and what will benefit them. And that is what they are doing today more than ever before. Wealthy men have purchased media outlets and it would seem that they are using them to slant the news in the directions of their own beliefs, opinions and benefits.

    So, if that is the case, then I don’t know what one group like the New England First Amendment Coalition can do about that.

  2. I am far more concerned about whether not the NEFAC actually care about doing something and are prepared actually do so something.

    For the past eight years, the Fourth Estate has chosen to be the echo chamber of the Obama administration. During the last election cycle, the Fourth Estate ceded any rights to the benefit of the doubt with their truly abominable and deplorable disregard for the voices in the nation, either by willful ignorance of by cynical design.

    The Fourth Estate needs to prove itself once again capable of discerning what is really going on and a willingness to report it, in the terms of the NY Times’ mission statement, without fear or favor.

    It is clear that they truly do not favor the Trump administration, and they are certainly showing a lack of fear. They have not, however, done much to dispel the notion that they are willing to tell the truth and the whole truth when that “truth” goes against that which they favor.

    Time will tell if the have the capacity to correct their errors. But it suspect it may take a long, long time before they realize the true importance of doing so.

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