Democracy depends on journalists

Media is not ‘the enemy of the people’

“Democracy Dies in Darkness.” That appears on every edition of The Washington Post, and that statement is true now more than ever. Journalists in newsrooms across the country dedicate their lives to educate and inform the people and hold truth to power. Journalists and our media are the American democracy’s best friends, not the enemies.

The media have been considered the 4th estate. Powerful enough to keep a government like ours in check, and the reporters who hold this responsibility do not take that lightly.

They check stories and sources, they look at stories from al points of view, and they aren’t afraid to search everywhere for corruption and deceit by the powerful to help the many.

This has been true throughout history. When a few guys in suits were arrested for breaking into the Democratic Headquarters at the Watergate Hotel, it was reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein who followed the story to the White House and brought down a president by finding the truth.

When Senator Joseph McCarthy used fear to con the American people and ruin the lives of thousands of Civil Servants accused as communists, it was Edward R. Murrow who wasn’t afraid and found the contradictions and lies of the senator.

This is still true today, whether it be a coverup of the Catholic Church’s sex abuse discovered by the Boston Globe, or a mass fraud of their customers by Wells Fargo found by the Los Angeles Times.

Members of the media, however, do mess up. Whether it be one small detail or an entire story. But when this happens they do not deny it or cover it up. They tell everyone that they messed up, how they messed up, then they retract their story and work twice as hard to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

And for 241 years the press have been able to keep government in check because our constitution recognizes their importance and protects it. And when a politician tries to discredit the institution and its reporting, the people of the power will come to the media’s defense.

This has kept journalists safe and allowed them to do their job and be trusted by the people. When politicians with the most power and an influence over millions of the population attack the media, reporters are afraid to do their jobs. And when millions no longer listen to the warnings and reporting and truths told by the media, that is where authoritarianism thrives.

This is how authoritarians have risen to power in Turkey, Russia, Iraq, and China.

We may disagree with what our media reports, but to deny it and to say it is the enemy of the people is not just dangerous to those in the media, it’s also dangerous to our democracy as a whole.

Democracies truly do die in darkness. That is why we here at MOHI Media stand with newspapers and journalists around the country when they shine their light.