The Oracle

Opposition to journalism requires conversation, action

Attending the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer is shown (left). Spicer has recently been accused of hostility toward some media outlets.

Gage Skidmore

Attending the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer is shown (left). Spicer has recently been accused of hostility toward some media outlets.

Cassidy Foronda, co-news assistant

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A subscription to the Wall Street Journal is $12 for 12 weeks; a subscription to the New York Times is $1.88 per week. A functioning free press? Priceless.

With the current divisiveness of our country, for every viewpoint represented in our multitudes, there is a piece of common ground.

No matter your political viewpoint, the free press is vital.

If I was going to name names, this would be the place. But, I won’t. The fact of the matter is this issue runs far deeper than party lines; it forces all of us to recognize our stake in the news media- how we consume it, if the outlets we choose are responsible and whether or not we’re willing to protect journalists’ rights.

At first glance, the issue may seem of no concern. Short of those who live in a stereotypical movie, where a delivery boy provides a copy of the newspaper on your doorstep every morning, the plight of journalists appears far-flung and so detached from everyday life.

But consider your knowledge on local issues like high crime rates in Chicago. Reflect on national concerns like Russian election interference or even foreign troubles like the Syrian civil war. If you’re even slightly familiar with any of these events, it’s because of the work of a journalist and their utilization of free speech.

What’s troubling is the blatant disregard of such a defining characteristic of democracy from the mouths of those entrusted to protect it. In recent weeks the media has been dubbed something for the American people to oppose, it’s been told to remain silent (even though doing the opposite is their job). Outlets such as CNN and the New York Times have been barred from White House press briefings. It’s not an accident.

The current attack on the news media is troubling, to say the very least. A contingency often dubbed the “fourth estate,” certain journalists take up the unique responsibility of holding those in power accountable (think Watergate, the Panama Papers) and informing the masses. Rather than being bogged down, it should be propped up. The collective news media ensures a robust democracy. And it’s in danger.

In response to hostility, I’ve seen support for the media in the forms of online movements such as #PressOn and #NotTheEnemy, condemnations from politicians past and present, as well as these topics being embedded into everyday conversations. However, in order to really protect the integrity of journalism, we need to do more than sit idly by.

Invest in a reputable source.  My family recently subscribed to a newspaper for the first time, and while paying for facts seems now unreasonable, support is needed now more than ever. And then, whether your outlet of choice leans right, left or straight down the middle, understand the rights of journalists within the entire spectrum to do their jobs. Begin productive conversations to not only defend the role of media, but examine how it functions within daily life. Protect the institution and mission of journalists and free speech.

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The news site of Glenbrook South High School.
Opposition to journalism requires conversation, action