CBS News journalist Scott Pelley has been quoted as saying, “There is no democracy without journalism... If we lose good journalism, America will lose its vitality in the world.” The sentiment of this statement is as topical now as when our founding fathers bound the freedoms of speech and of the press into The Bill of Rights in the United States Constitution. We are living in a world were those who would control your way of life are also trying to control the information that you have access to. This is evident in not only the corporate controlled media prevalent in the United States, but extends to the outright slaughter of journalists that is happening around the world.
In 2015, sixty-one journalist were killed for providing you information about those who would oppress your freedoms. Despite dangers to themselves, journalists continue to report about those committing acts contrary to the common good. Be these acts of violence and terror or the secret intrigues of corporations and governments. To report on those who seek to remove your rights to self-actualization and self-determination, journalist provided us, the public, with information that we may act upon. That we may use to defend our rights and to try and secure the rights of those being oppressed. Without journalists exposing these activities and informing you of the atrocities being committed, the perpetrators would be able to take you unawares. Without good information, Americans lose the ability to effectively react to what is happening in the world.
In the connected age of the Internet and social media, it is more important than ever to have strong journalism. Extremist organizations are now not only using social media, but are also becoming experts at it. They are using its power and portability to aggrandize their acts of terror and spread them beyond regional borders. This is clearly demonstrated in the online celebrations by the Islamic State after the terror attacks in Paris in November 2015. By having a strong journalism and reporters willing to find and report about what is really happening and place it in a wider context, we have a counter to the propaganda that is being spread by those seeking to oppress freedom.
Reinforcing his sentiments, Scott Pelley also said, “The quality of life in America is dependent on the quality of the journalism. Most people don't realize that, but if you think about it, journalism is one of the pillars on which our society is perched.” If we fail to protect and nurture this pillar of our society, we will lose what it is supporting. We lose one of the checks and balances against those who would undermine our society. We lose the voice of those interested in the common good advising us about what we need to know. Whether this is about unethical quests for bigger profits or the terrorist pursuits of those holding extremist beliefs, we as a society need to know.