“If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.” – Thomas Jefferson
Leonard Downie Jr. said that contemporary society has the capacity to be better informed than any previous population. However, more often people are choosing to be well informed with sources confirming their personal beliefs. I find this to be extremely true with today’s society.
When we are approached with a massive set of media, we don’t look for things that will counter our state of mind. We are generally looking for things that confirm our own opinions. Online readership is quick to judge, has a short attention span, reads fast and doesn’t look back. Speed is the name of the game and it is a ruthless animal. We are looking for something to catch our interest, and if it’s not there then good luck at holding our attention.
I believe this is why, as journalists, we have to hold to our values of truth and independence more than ever. We have to write without any slant or spin. We cannot contribute to the problem. Outspoken journalism will get us clicks, but it hurts society as a whole. As the quote above states, an ignorant society cannot be free.