March 3, 2004
it or not, 'real' news matters most
Richard Reeves was asked to define "real news,"
and he answered that it's "the news you and I need
to keep our freedoms."
portion of news coverage is essential to our freedoms?
What percentage is entertainment, posing as news? What
amount is opinion, masquerading under the banner of "fair
and balanced news?"
few excerpts from a speech by Bill Moyers may shed light
on our challenges.
a November keynote speech at the National Conference on
Media Reform, Moyers offered the following three quotable
and important insights:
and responsible government by popular consent just can't
exist without an informed public."
observation is that a growing number of people won't seek
information that might challenge their opinions. Associating
only with those who are like-minded can lead to a drifting
toward ignorance and even irresponsible actions. This
is no way to sustain and strengthen any form of free government,
most especially a democracy.
"The greatest moments in the history of the press
came not when journalists made common cause with the
state but when they stood fearlessly independent of
of us recall the wisdom that power corrupts and absolute
power corrupts absolutely. The challenge for those who
would accept social and journalistic responsibilities
is to fulfill a dual role: Comfort the afflicted and afflict
the comfortable. When the press is free to provide each
service, society is stronger, which means our freedoms
"If free and independent journalism committed to
tell the truth without fear or favor is suffocated, the
oxygen goes out of democracy."
of the mysteries of a democracy and a free press is that
they can exist, often at odds, without seeking the destruction
of the other. The integrity of our system (economic, political
and cultural) depends upon our ability, and freedom, to
disagree without being disagreeable.
news" reporting is always about integrity, intelligence
and courage. Integrity provides the platform for truth
seeking. Intelligence builds the road to insightful, accurate
and thorough research. Courage is a timeless quality and
becomes all the more important when the government or
any other institution of power and control is tempted
to suggest the legitimacy of censorship.
the real news -- the news you and I need to keep our freedoms.
It is important, always has been and it always will be.