In the fourth chapter of Freedom For the Thought that We Hate, written by Anthony Lewis, the author highlights the Sullivan lawsuit. This suit is used as an example to display that if there were legal risks connected with reporting, journalists and civilians could be less likely to voice their opinions or criticisms. Instead of reporting for the common good and to empower citizens (the role of reporters) journalists might believe their contribution could lead them to be prosecuted.
In our political climate today, this fear is magnified. Our president claims he will shut down newspapers which merely report the truth. Professor Vincent Blasi is summarized by Lewis in a statement. This statement reads that people should be able to say, “practically anything about a public person without fear of having to pay damages.” This should be true. However, the unfortunate part about our current president is that by simply being an honest reporter leads him to make threats. Therefore, journalists already face a restraint before even typing a word.
Reporting should be used as a tool. It should bring forward issues to create an informed public. Reporting and investigating, today, should be used like journalism was in 1971. That being the year that journalists began an exploration into the Pentagon Papers. Bringing to light some important mistakes made by the president at the time. Similar to the case of the Pentagon Papers, now, we now have the Russia investigation. This case has yet to have a huge break, and has left most of us wondering what is going on behind closed doors in the White House. However, our current state makes it difficult for journalists to even be involved in this type of investigation. It might be more difficult to repeat history, and force a resignation like Nixon’s, but it is not impossible. I just hope it comes before journalists completely lose their voice.
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