Freedom Of The Press? Who Needs It?

from the maybe-freedom-from-the-press... dept

It’s sort of a silly exercise, really, because it sets up a ridiculous condition that wouldn’t occur in real life, but Romenesko points us to a story about a Middle School teacher who asked her students what five Constitutional protections they would keep if they had to throw out the rest, and not a single one picked “freedom of the press.” Obviously, these are young kids — and many people at that age don’t read any news anyway, so it’s not surprising that they wouldn’t care as much. However, the general sense from the kids seems to be that they’re just sick of the mass media in general, and don’t see any reason why it needs any special protections. While there have been a bunch of stories recently about the numbers look bad this year for the news business, it’s results like the one above that should really scare newspapers. Their future readers are growing up in a world where they already know that the media is a waste of their time. Update: Dan Gillmor has a slightly different take, agreeing that the study itself is stupid and pointing out that freedom of speech equals freedom of the press. However, his claim that this only clouds issues isn’t necessarily true. It still seems like it says something about how kids view the press — and that does matter.

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Comments on “Freedom Of The Press? Who Needs It?”

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Bob says:


I agree it does matter. Maybe its obvious to even them that today’s mainstream (corporate) media is dominated by influence peddlers. Anyone who believes otherwise is deluding themselves and needs to pull their head out of their a**.

As I see it today’s media serves three purposes in society.

To invoke fear and terror
To convince you to buy junk
To distort the truth with spin

The hard-edge news reporting of yesteryear is gone. What remains is an empty shell of what was, now something of a disgrace.

Clearly, even our children recognize it.

G. Steve Arnold says:

Ask 'em this...

They just need to grow up a little. If you want to give ’em a little push, just ask ’em if they’d be willing to give up their freedom to blog. That’s how they need to be thinking about the press.
BTW, I know blogs != press, but they do represent opinion, and that’s where papers like the New York Times got their start. Kids need to start making that connection — that “The Press” isn’t just huge supersized media facotries, but any joe shmoe who’s willing to take out a second mortgage on his house to buy a printing press or a mimeograph or a xerox machine or a PC just so he can tell everyone within earshot why he’s pissed off.

Anonymous Coward says:

Young internet user

I’d say the press can go to hell and their overexaggerated and twisted reports and intervews. For $0/month now everyone can bring news to the world, and this is what the media will be like in few years from now.

Last time I bought a newspaper? Uhmm like 5-6 years? More?

Last time I listened to the radio? 2-3 years..

Last time I watched news on TV? Well I just ditched my TV tuner card a week ago and I don’t miss it at all.

Brad (user link) says:

Freedom of the Press

The kids discount the press because the press has reduced themselves to “repeaters” instead of “reporters”.
It costs money to do real investigative journalism and the few corporate parents of most major media outlets have chosen profits over an informed public — thus we get too much coverage of Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston and no real depth of coverage of things that matter.
This race to the bottom is being led by Rupurt Murdoch. From London’s “Sun” to the blabbering idiots on Fox News his companies have destroyed people’s faith in anything published or broadcast. His agenda is clear — the dumber and less informed the people the easier they are to manipulate to the benefit of big business and corrupt politicians.

Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

My son’s class did this exact same thing a few weeks ago (he’s a sophomore.)

I don’t recall the exact rankings, but I know freedom of the press did not end up in the top five. His reasoning was that it was redundant, if citizens are guaranteed free speech. It’s not an unreasonable position.

Of course, he couldn’t get any of the other kids to include the right to bear arms in the top five, either. Apparently impassioned arguments about an armed populace keeping the government honest out of fear of violent revolution don’t go over well in high-school 🙂 Sigh.

The Other Mike says:

Who cares?

I can count on one hand how many people I know who actually know what’s going on in the world today. People feel there are better ways to waste time than listening to/reading about others ideas on how the world is or should be (this includes blogs).

Religious zealots are going to start witch trials again according to the left, and there is going to be forced abortions for everyone according to the right. SSDD for the last 20 years. Public take on it: wake me when its over.

Until there is something else to report the general public couldn’t care less and these kids reflect that.

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