Does Journalism Still Exist? We look for the answer in 3 key films

“The press is the best instrument for enlightening the mind of man, and improving him as a rational, moral and social being.” -Thomas Jefferson

Does true journalism still exist? Prior to the first amendment, in the US there was no such thing as freedom of speech. Citizens were forced into a religion and government and had to follow certain ideologies whether they believed in them or not.

In 1789, the first amendment was enforced, which finally allowed freedom of thought, opinion, expression and belief as well as freedom of the press and any other media of communication. The first amendment played a crucial role in stabilizing the foundation of a democracy.

Journalism used to be a calling. Not everyone could do it, but those who could, made it their mission to report and inform citizens the wrong doings of their government. Now, news programs and journalists have become corrupted, flawed and controlled by politicians and corporate elites. The so-called information that’s being reported to the public tailors to ratings and corporate interests. It’s all about the flashy gimmicky stories that numb viewers from the harsh realities of worldly issues that deal with corruption, injustice, inhumane activities and more appalling wrong doings. From Miley Cyrus scandals to the over-the-top stories on the Ebola virus (which has suddenly disappeared from the media), this kind of reporting seems to be taking over many biased news networks including the Fox News, CNN, and ABC among other news stations that compete for more viewers and of course more money.

And how can I not mention the point that fact checking doesn’t seem to exist in journalism anymore as well. Yes, fact checking, you know the process in which newspapers and news networks go through an immense amount of detail and information, that used to take hours, to ensure that what they’re about to report to the public is in fact accurate. How many times have we seen CNN or Fox retract information? The answer is one too many.

The Newsroom

The closest thing we have to news comes from Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart and Bill Maher. Ironically, these guys seem to be the ones who actually keep the public informed. They challenge these corporate ideologies and dissect what’s going on in the world. But, as much as they’re doing a great job as the new age journalists, they too are limited. To understand this point, you must watch The Newsroom. The HBO’s show illustrates the constant struggle between morality and immorality. Jeff Daniel’s brilliant portrayal of Will McAvoy, the anchor and managing editor of News Night for the fictional program ACN (Atlantis Cable News) reveals this struggle of fighting against corporate and commercial control. His team sets out to change the way the network has been reporting news and the way news has become constructed. This fight is anything but easy. The constant obstacles they face trying to report news that matter all while trying to keep their jobs proves that it has its boundaries.

All The President’s Men

Journalism was at its prime during the 1960-1970s. Remember Vietnam and the Watergate scandal? Journalists played a key role in getting to the truth and making sure all the scandals and lies were uncovered. All The President’s Men perfectly illustrates how Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, reporters from the Washington Post, played a crucial role in uncovering the details of the Watergate scandal. What started out as local news, turned into one of the biggest political stories in history. Throughout the film, you see the struggles they faced and how their lives were threatened but that didn’t stop them. Instead they continued to unravel the story with much help from their source, Deep Throat, a whistleblower who also served his country well. This story led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon and changed the way citizens saw the political system in America.

Herblock: The Black & The White

Herbert Lawrence Block (known as Herblock) was a cartoon satirist for the Washington Post from 1946-2001. This documentary highlights the impact his journalistic approach had using satire cartoon drawings during harsh times. His works through the Watergate era were definitely memorable and commendable. People have said Herblock had a political intuition, which he would follow until the truth was revealed. His intelligent comics revealed things about the presidency and white house the public were blinded to see. When the Watergate scandal was made public, Herbert was the first to accuse Nixon of being involved in the robbery at the Democratic Committee’s Watergate headquarters, which involved bugging phones and creating surveillance of the opposing side. Though Nixon continued to deny taking part in any of this and even had the public fooled, Herblock never stopped. This robbery was instantly tied to the CIA, but Herblock was the one to claim otherwise. His cartoon drawing with two detectives following footprints leading to the white house sent a clear message that maybe it wasn’t the CIA…

Journalism is meant to inform us with news that affects us. We have to ask ourselves when have we had enough? I do believe there are journalists like Herblock, Woodward and Bernstein out there, and some journalists today try to get the right information out to the public but there needs to be an outlet for them to report news without bias and corporate and political control.

Does Journalism Still Exist? We look for the answer in 3 key films – article by Bojana Duric















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