WHAT IS THE FOURTH ESTATE or FOURTH BRANCH of GOVERNMENT? « CITIZEN.BLOGGER.1984+ GUNNY.G BLOG.EMAIL
Does the press function as an independent Fourth Estate or as a fourth branch of government?
Are media adversaries of the State or its accomplice?TV’s top journalists are part of the wealthy and influential elite, often socializing with people they’re supposed to be scrutinizing. At an awards banquet for the Radio & Television Correspondents Association during Reagan’s second term, Kathleen Sullivan at the time with ABC was photographed on the arm of then-Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, while CBS Face the Nation host Lesley Stahl greeted the Republican Party’s national chairman Frank Fahrenkopf with a kiss.
Vice President Bush serenaded the crowd with a speech and journalists got prizes ostensibly for good reporting.David Broder of the Washington Post, often described as the dean of American political reporting, has won many awards in his day. Upon accepting a prize for lifetime service to journalism at Washington’s National Press Club in 1988, Broder stated: “I can’t for the life of me fathom why any journalists would want to become insiders, when it’s so much fun being outsiders-irreverent, inquisitive, incorrigibly independent outsiders, thumbing our nose at authority and going our own way.”
Applauding Broder’s remarks was an audience of insiders, including James Baker, soon-to-be Secretary of State, who got a flattering profile in Broder’s column.This kind of sycophantic behavior made investigative reporter I.F. Stone’s blood boil. Izzy, as his friends called him, was a real outsider. He had one cardinal rule: don’t pal around with the folks you write about, don’t fraternize with people in power. That’s what he always told young people who wanted to be reporters. But his was a voice in a journalistic wilderness. When he died in 1989, Stone was lauded by many high-profile journalists who never listened to his advice.THE MIGHTY PR ARSENALWhen we turn on the TV…..
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