Questioning the freedom of the press


Credit: Aysen Tan/The Foothill Dragon Press

Bryn Gallagher

The First Amendment of the constitution makes one thing clear: a free press is an important right of the people. Without it what keeps us from a horribly corrupt government? Nothing.

But is the press really that free? Are the stories that we read truly the unbiased, hard-hitting current events that we are promised and that we expect? Maybe not.

Most of today’s prominent newspapers are controlled by umbrella companies. Many of the nation’s most prominent newspapers, including The Los Angeles Times and The Chicago Tribune are owned by one conglomerate company, Tribune. Tribune is a media empire with 10 daily newspapers and 50 websites overall. They also have a hold on 23 television stations including KTLA in Los Angeles, WDCW in Washington DC, and news radio station WGN-AM in Chicago.

But they are not even the biggest corporation, in terms of circulation Gannet Company is the largest in the nation. They hold 12 newspapers and 23 television stations nationwide.

Most of our nation’s truly prominent newspapers are indeed under the control of a huge media empire. They are connected with other newspapers, magazines, and news shows.

This creates the question, how free is the press, really? Is it possible for a press so entangled among other publications to really be the straight, unbiased truth?

Maybe not. While the different newspapers are noble in basis their interconnection with each other and with huge companies greatly damages the credibility of the newspapers as a whole.

Essentially being controlled by a huge corporation smashes the independent voice of the publication. The monopolization of the news industry is setting us up for a failure in the press.

With a huge company controlling several news sources it is much easier for the news to become swayed. All a politician, or government, would need now to control a huge string of news publications is have a good deal with the leadership in the company that owns them.

This possibility of corruption and government connections can affect the credibility of the press as a whole. If a huge number of newspapers are printing biased half-truths it can change elections and how our government is run. When it comes down to it one huge conglomerate press can easily be taken charge of and changed until it is nothing more then an Orwellian propaganda machine.

It is dangerous for us as a people to sit and watch the various newspapers become one huge company. We need to be careful with everything we read and check the monopolization of our newspapers because, when it comes down to it, a free and independent press is the cornerstone of American democracy.

What do you think?