Since the very beginning, the purpose of journalism has been to report the truth to the public without being biased. Although this may sound simple, journalism involves a lot more than one would think. There is an ethics code that comes with being a journalist. Journalists have a duty to the public, to be honest and loyal. Unfortunately, this has not always been as easy as it sounds. In fact, in the past, it was very common for the government to attempt to censor publications. In some countries, they would try to control what people could and could not read. Of course, the governments of these countries were nowhere near the democratic government that is present in our own.
The United States is known for the freedom that its citizens have. One freedom in particular pertains directly to journalism which is the freedom of speech. This allows for journalists to be able to report on anything and everything as long as the story is factual. Of course, our government has found some loop-holes in this system and it uses them to their benefit. To this day, there are plenty of ways that the government is able to manipulate media in order to influence the public and get their approval.
One of the ways that this is possible is through pseudo-events. These are events that have been staged in order to create a story for the media to report on. In addition, these events are used to manipulate the media by making them report on something that they would normally have no interest in. This technique is used by government officials to bring the public’s focus to an issue that they believe is important. Another way that they do this is through the use of trial balloons. Trial balloons are not actually balloons, but involve “floating” information out to the public without connecting it to a direct source. Government officials do this in order to gauge public opinions on controversial topics without having to take credit for an issue that is viewed negatively. If the public has a good reaction to the information that was released, then the government official goes along with what they were originally planning. If the information is met with a negative attitude, the government claims to have no connection.
Although the government may claim to embrace the freedom of speech, there have times throughout the United States’ history where they have contradicted this claim. One of the biggest scandals in America involving this was the Watergate scandal. If it were not for journalists doing their job, this scandal may have never been discovered. Being a journalist has never been easy but it is a job that comes with great responsibility. Journalists who abide to what journalism is truly about are one of the reasons that our country is able to keep an eye on the government. This is important to ensure that our democracy is one that remains beneficial for the people and not for the government itself.