Watchers of the Watchdogs
Journalism is a craft that can be dated back to Rome before the rise of the Empire. Because of the boundless curiosity of common men, as well as the methods which rulers and administrators can abuse their positions for personal gain, there have always been a cause for brave and worthy individuals to find and report the truth.
Often in history, reporting on the government has been charged as sedition and punished. In other cases, the government has controlled the news and spread propaganda, abusing the trust placed by the everyday individual to be informed. This is an instrumental part of similar collectivist structures like communism, socialism and fascism.
In modern history, the industrialization of journalism transformed reporters from being watchdogs into little more than providers of entertainment; a commodity. Rather than by virtue of telling the truth, news became more concerned with getting a juicy scoop before the competition to boost ratings and bring in more revenues from sponsors.
The most powerful means of capturing an audience are by fear and scandal. As much as we enjoy seeing a heartwarming story on the news about an everyman rising to the occasion and saving a life, or starting a nonprofit to help those less fortunate, salacious tales and gossip tickle our darker passions and intrigue us. When times are tough or uncertain, those looking for solace take comfort in the words of like-minded men the same way the religious find it in the word of God.
We as a society place great faith in journalism, often forgetting that the journalists are as corruptible as any statesman or businessman. Which begs the question: who checks the journalists and keeps them honest?
Of their own free will, they can become deceptive and predatory for their own profit. They can ally with the corrupt government for mutual gains and fool us into hating their enemies.
There are too few willing to do this.