Freedom of the Press is an integral part of America. However, there are nuances with which we are struggling with at this time in history:
- Who the “Press” is is not defined. This was not an issue when it took substantial startup capital to run a media outlet. Now, it’s a big problem. Anyone can hop on the internet, gain a readership, and legitimately define themselves as part of “The Press”.
- “The Press” has caused some of this problem by blurring the lines between reporting and opinion journalism (punditry).
- Because it is difficult to distinguish between reporting and opinion journalism, we now have a problem with “fake news”. “Fake News” is the logical end of a phenomenon we have (erroneously, in my view) tolerated, which is “spin journalism”.
REPORTING involves the transmission of facts.
SPIN JOURNALISM interprets those facts to be positive or negative to a particular narrative. This (unfortunately) has been classified by major news outlets (including Fox) as “reporting”. It is not.
FAKE NEWS builds on spin journalism, adding predictions of what will happen based on unsubstantiated sources or irrational reasoning. (Assuming it has any basis in truth at all — some fake news is simply a lie.)\
In my view, survival of Press Freedoms depends on creating and enforcing strong definitions as to who a REPORTER is, and who an OPINION JOURNALIST is. If a so-called REPORTER also appears on his own outlets doing opinion work, then he or she is no longer a REPORTER, and the defense of their work is no longer covered under freedom of the press, but freedom of speech. IOW, they cede the special status given to the press.