I believe that the freedom of the press afforded by the First Amendment of the Constitution is absolutely vital to a transparent and properly functioning democracy. This freedom of the press should come with a moral obligation to check the validity of stories and facts associated with those stories.
News agencies are big business, and like any big business, they are driven by the bottom line. This causes them to employ certain tactics to beat out their competition, whether that means publishing a story before all the pertinent information is obtained and verified or distorting a story to gain public outrage via headlines or content.
New agencies need to put aside their business, political, and affiliation agendas and focus simply on providing accurate unbiased facts so the American people can accurately form their own opinions. I believe this is exactly what the founding fathers intended by freedom of the press.
News agencies need to be transparent in reporting stories and need to include all facts so the general public can develop informed opinions versus responding emotionally. Once this occurs, we can begin to restore trust to both news agencies and our government alike. Trust is necessary if we are to begin healing the tremendous divide in our great nation.
The media is as much or more to blame for the degraded public perception of law enforcement as the actual actions of law enforcement. Nonetheless, law enforcement needs to change to stop the growing divide in our nation. At the same time, the media needs to seriously consider how and why stories are released. Is it for the betterment of the people and truth or is it solely to benefit the bottom line?
I believe that all facets of society will benefit from an improved relationship between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve. I for one will do whatever I can to help foster a safe, good, and productive environment in which we all live.