Wall Street Opinion Journal Peter Kann December 13, 2006
The media is in need of some mending.
Thomas Jefferson, a better president than we’ve had in a very long time, penned a line back in 1787: “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without government, I would not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” By 1807, in his seventh year as president and after seven years of being subjected to severe press criticism, he wrote: “I deplore the putrid state into which our newspapers have passed, and the malignity, the vulgarity and the mendacious spirit of those who write them.”
You’ll be relieved to know that Jefferson did remain true to his primary principle: “The press,” he concluded, “is an evil for which there is no remedy. Liberty depends upon freedom of the press and that cannot be limited without being lost.” He was right then, and we are right now, to prefer a free press, however flawed, to any controlled alternative. Still, as we watched CNN flashing its pre-election logos each day–“Broken Borders,” “Broken Government,” “Broken Politics,” Broken Everything–I can’t help thinking the media, too, is in need of some mending.
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