“You can’t have a democracy without an informed people.”
Helen Thomas was asked if she believed there’s a liberal bias in the news media. She barked back, “Hell no!” She went on to explain that she’s desperate to find other liberals in the press because there weren’t any.
According to Thomas, being a liberal journalist means to yank the filters off and hold nothing back when it comes to holding our leaders accountable to the promises they make, answerable to what they say and what they do. To do anything otherwise helps shroud the truth of what is really happening, serving no citizen, serving no democracy.
Asking the right questions, Thomas believed, meant pressing until all the information the people need to know is put out there—put out there so the people are better equipped to make important decisions, especially at the ballot box.
This pressing is all the more true for the candidates and leaders we support, let alone the ones we don’t. Here, the press acts a failsafe for the institution that is democracy, to protect the people from even the best among us.
Therein lies the very purpose of the press.
Without a working press, an uninformed people will make uninformed decisions. Those uninformed decisions cause us to choose the wrong people to lead our communities, lead our nation. Furthermore, an uninformed people put community, the nation, at risk of abuse—or even suppression of the people.
Take not for granted a free American press. It has a fundamental role in maintaining the freedoms of the rest of us.