Checks and balances on the 'Fourth Estate'

Discussion in 'Politics' started by El_Guero, Aug 5, 2006.

  1. El_Guero

    El_Guero
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    My illustrious colleagues graciously pointed out that my other thread was lacking in clarity.

    Their kindness was magnanimous.

    - - -

    In that the 'Fourth Estate' is often considered the 'other', or fourth, branch of government.

    And that the other branches check and balance each other.

    - - -

    Should the 'Fourth Estate' be subject to the same kinds of checks and balances that the other three are?

    Or, should Americans be able to live without a fear of the press lying to them in order to inflame Americans to act in a manner that we (on average) would not act in if not inflamed by falsehood?

    Could truth in the press, instead of lies, calm down the political rhetoric in this country?
     
  2. Magnetic Poles

    Magnetic Poles
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    Got too hot in the other kitchen, I see.
     
  3. El_Guero

    El_Guero
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    I started this thread to get it on topic. As so many illustrious and eloquent writers had pointed out, my OP was obtuse.

    Therefore, in the interest of honesty and integrity of both the discussion at hand and the memory of your great ancestor, I felt it best to start on the foot of clarity.

    Might we dedicate this thread to the memory of Dr. Benjamin Rush?
     
  4. KenH

    KenH
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    No. The check and balance is provided by the various members of the press, especially with the Internet in existence today.
     
  5. Lagardo

    Lagardo
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    Now, I don't remember one single post that called you obtuse.

    Loutfully yours,
    Aaron
     
  6. Lagardo

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    Regarding the OP, while the press may be "called" a fourth branch of the govenrment, it is not and therefore does not require the same kind of check and balance system that the three branches of the actual government have.

    The first amendment allows for a free press as opposed to a press that is a part of or ruled by the government. It follows from free speech, that the people be allowed to say and hear what they wish.

    There are laws that protect against slander and libel, both of which could be argued infringe on the liberty of others. Courts have held that these laws do not prohibit a free press.

    However, the biggest system of checks and balances on the press is that is free and thus, in a free market place. For those who do not like the slant of CNN, there is Fox. For those who do not like the Post there is the Times. If people want a truthful press, they will purchase one and the lying press will not last long.

    Today there is an abundance of information protected by Free Press, including this very board to some extent. This abundance of information is the only thing that is going to help you and I to find truth. A lost and sinful world will never effectivly legistlate truth, but God-given liberty will certainly allow those who seek to find.

    Aaron (aka Lagard, aka Lout)
     
  7. El_Guero

    El_Guero
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    Aaron

    Obtuseness is that quality that really makes one a great lout.

    Wayne
     
  8. El_Guero

    El_Guero
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    We agree that a "lost and sinful world will never effectively legislate truth" and we probably agree that morality cannot be legislated upon a lost and sinful world.

    We agree that "while the press may be "called" a fourth branch of the government, it is not and therefore does not require the same kind of check and balance system that the three branches of the actual government have."

    However, I have to ask: "Since the press coverage has crippled many candidates and made the election of many others possible, shouldn't this effectiveness of power be considered for what it is. The press coverage easily caries as much weight as 5 - 10% of the population. Shouldn't any one small block of power be subjugated to the good of the true majority?"

    When the press coverage only tells the truth (allegations of Bush and his DUI wasn't that days before the election?) even when destructive, I feel that this is in the best interest of the people. But, following on from this example, the destructiveness of the news almost cost Bush the election. And the destructiveness of this news did reduce the margin of victory to such a narrow margin that the country was split over the result.

    Shouldn't the press be held to a standard that is better for the greater good?

    I do not believe in censorship for this - unfortunately, this would work and then backfire - but, can't the people find away to prevent the abuse of power that comes so often from the press?

    We vote with our remote control, but the reporters seem to be Teflon and just get richer. Or the shock jocks go to satellite and bombard the USA with rogue radio waves.
     
  9. El_Guero

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    Honestly, did the Framers intend for a small group of journalists to be able to manipulate puplic opinion and thought in the manner that they can do now?

    I am not even certain that they would have been comfortable with the ability of the press a century ago. But, the modern press works at generating enough controversy to sell, but not so much as to loose business completely.
     
  10. Lagardo

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    The framers probably could not imagine the press we have today, but in a sense, they were part of a small group of people speaking for the whole.

    The influence of the press does not come from the law but rather from the consumers. Educating consumers about truth will be a faster route to truth in media than trying to legislate truth. After all, legislastion follows the whims of society. Putting "truth" in the hands of legislation means that truth can follow the whims of society and I am sure that you and I agree that truth cannot do that.

    I would like to point out the the framers knew oppression like you and I have never known. It is clear in reading the constitution that they were determined to err on the side of liberty.
     
  11. Lagardo

    Lagardo
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    Yet, you said you were obtuse and I was a lout.
     
  12. El_Guero

    El_Guero
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    I guess we are both goodlooking to someone.
     

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