Editorial: Importance of the press


Local newspapers

Editorial Board

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Our founding fathers valued a free press so much as to include it in the First Amendment.

Arguments exist about what exactly a free press is, and why it’s deemed important enough to be included in the Bill of Rights, but a free press is undeniably a good thing for the United States.

Regardless of which news station you watch, what paper you read or who you listen to on the radio, the press is providing you a service, one not too many people pass on either. The ease with which Americans can tune in to their news is unparalleled.

However, the news media is not perfect — they make mistakes, they fall short of their goals and they can mislead their readership.

It is impossible for the news media to be completely objective. Anyone who says otherwise is wrong. The news media is comprised of people, not robots. People have opinions; they like to share them, and as hard as they try to keep them out of their work, it’s impossible to write without bias as each source, each quote, each topic covered is based on choice, not science.

That’s not to say that consuming news media is a bad thing. As a consumer, you aren’t being fed intentionally false or misleading news whenever you tune in. American news agencies do an incredible job vetting the information that they publish. Their goal is to provide accurate information to their subscribers as their credibility and existence depends on it.

So say what you want about the news media, you’re guilty of using it.

That’s why recent happenings should be concerning to you regardless of whether it has impacted the news media you consume or not.

President Donald Trump recently revoked CNN’s Jim Acosta’s press pass to the White House. Acosta was questioning Trump when he prevented an intern from taking the microphone away.

The White House claims Trump revoked Acosta’s pass because of his treatment of that intern. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders even tweeted a video showing the specific behavior they deemed unacceptable.

That video, however, has been suggested to be doctored to display a scene much more intense and aggressive than what actually happened. Perhaps, the Trump administration really does believe Acosta’s behavior toward the intern was uncalled for. Or perhaps, Trump was just tired of being badgered by Acosta’s questions.

Congressman Steve King pulled a similar move Tuesday when his campaign barred the Des Moines Register from his election night event. The King campaign’s reasoning aside, denying the largest newspaper in Iowa access to your event means one of two things.

Either, King planned on doing absolutely nothing newsworthy Tuesday night — like winning an election (which he did). Or, he chose to deny access as a tool to foster a hatred by his supporters against the press and its purpose.

Maybe you support Trump and King, but they won’t hold office forever. What happens when someone you do not support assumes office? Wouldn’t you want your favorite news station to be able to cover them? You’d want to know if they plan on changing something you support. Yet denying access immediately halts that ability and leads to an uninformed, uneducated citizen base.

The news media is an invaluable part of American society. Regardless of which source you use, you more than likely consume news media in some capacity. Support your source and support the news media as a whole as you never know when you’re the one who may need them to amplify your own voice against wrongdoing and injustice.