In recent years, we have seen a major shift in the objectivity of journalism. Undoubtedly, journalists and the press have been censoring and harboring stories from the public. Taking a look at the last presidency of the US, stories were covered up daily.
As Wahl-Jorgensen points out in Journalists and the Public, “it is apparent, then, that public debate in a liberal democracy is about what elites do and say, rather than what citizens want.” In the current environment we live in, journalists are not aiming to provide the public with the necessary information. Instead, they are strategizing to enhance and reinforce their values with the government and corporate America to make a good name for each side.
Journalists are no longer serving as the watchdog. As German philosopher Jurgen Habermas notes, journalists are working for the best interest of the government and brushing the public to the backburner They are not holding the government accountable for their actions, and in case, the public is losing their voice.
Journalists have the final word in what is printed and what is not. If they are unwilling to do the dirty work and report the grime, the public is going to be left out in the dark scrumming for answers.
In Chapter two of Journalists and the Public, Wahl-Jorgensen highlights the emergence of letters to the editors. In the beginning, letters to the editor were
“a sense of engagement by incorporating readers’ writing in the form of letters and amateur belles letters, establishing the appearance of dialogue between editors and readers and sometimes among readers themselves, and representing readers writing about a variety of public and private concerns.”
The invention of letters to the editor served as a way of communication and was informational during the early days. It gave a forum for opinionated debates regarding politics, business, trade, etc. The purpose of these letters was not to provide entertainment, but to provide newsworthy tidbits. Sometimes stories were not released for months because of the slow mailing system.
The public now had a voice and it was extremely influential in defining the identity of the American people during the early years of our country. It enabled the newspapers, as well as the public, to prosper together in a dimensional platform.