Free speech & criticism: the core of democracy

Posted on 08 February 2017 by Ian Schrauth

Direct your mistrust to those who refuse to be questioned

 

By: Katie Hayes
Editor in Chief

 

In a recent and rare interview, Stephen Bannon told The New York Times that he wanted to be quoted as saying “the media here is the opposition party.” President Trump’s chief strategist continued on to say in the interview, “You’re the opposition party. Not the Democratic Party. You’re the opposition party. The media’s the opposition party.” “The media”—the conglomerate of every person, outlet and medium—is now its own entity. We’re one brain; we have one message. We oppose the mission to “Make America Great Again.” This rhetoric, which I ardently oppose, may be the only piece of current American politics that is not quite as polarized as Americans think.

Americans who criticize “the media” are right to question.

The fact that we don’t take something at face value and are skeptical about what we hear is a good thing.

Missouri is the Show-Me state.

We want concrete proof; we want facts; we want results.

As a general rule, people should not trust institutions that don’t allow themselves to be questioned — whether they are governmental, educational, informational or economic.apple

Criticism is the core of democracy and to remain balanced we need healthy discourse and disagreement.

This is also why progress is slow in the U.S., but that is a discussion for another time.

By all means, question “the powers that be.” When you disagree with “the media” though, define who that is.

We are living in a time when information spreads rapidly and anyone can not only say whatever they want, but spread that information widely and instantaneously.

To say that you read something online doesn’t cut it anymore.

Everything and everyone is online.

It’s the equivalent of quoting someone you overheard at the mall — there is a lot going on, you probably don’t have much context and no one really will (or should) believe what some stranger at the mall said.

“The media” is not one entity.

There are different publications, with differing levels of credibility.

To gather information and form your own opinions, you have to read and you have to read credible information you don’t agree with.

Credible journalists, whether they are liberal or conservative, are not trying to con the American people.

It’s one of the few positions that doesn’t have a huge monetary payoff if you screw someone over.

Journalists are not in it for the money, because there isn’t a lot of money in journalism.

Freedom of speech is part of our constitution because we need it to function as a democracy.

As a nation, we need a free press.

We need an outlet to disagree with our government whether that government is liberal or conservative.

To declare that “the media is the opposition” tells the American people that free speech is the opposition.

To question and dissent is not the opposition of democracy — it’s the basis for it.

I still believe the American public questions what they read because they value freedom.

We all as a country value the same thing, even if we see different ways to maintain it.

Be skeptical.

But for the love of the United States, be skeptical of more than just “the media” and those who directly question our leaders.

If we want to remain part of the free world, and we want to be self governing, we have to take pride in our processes.

Be critical of not only where you get information, but of those who don’t want you to have it at all.

 

 

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