Posted by: eratigan | August 5, 2009

Power (and free will) of the Pen

Pincus’s article calls on journalists to be crusading, to do their job and have a sense of moral obligation* when reporting. Unlike those who call for objectivity (a pipe dream, I think), Pincus calls the media the fourth branch of government and admits they are capable of doing good and evil, just like any of the other branches.

*like a definition of right and wrong, not a party identity

Clockwise, from bottom left: judicial, legistlative, executive, media

Clockwise, from bottom left: judicial, legistlative, executive, media

Like the other branches, the media is vulnerable to missteps and failures. I appreciated Pincus’s article because he holds what seems to be a rare belief in the media these days–there’s a higher calling to journalism than boosting ratings/circulation.


While he doesn’t deny the possibility of bias in the news, Pincas doesn’t accept it as par for the course. Instead, he accepts its existence but demands that journalists rise above it to present the truth to the best of their abilities. That may also be a pipe dream, but it’s definitely one I’m willing to submit to.  It’s a lot better than the current state of things–a media that claims independence from the government, but does nothing with that independence. Though sheer unwillingness to pick a side and fight to defend it, the media may have inadvertently become a tool of the other branches.



  1. I really enjoyed Pincus’s article as well and I think it brought up a lot of good points that we dealt with class. Certainly bias can be difficult to avoid and I agree that it is unrealistic to assume that all reporting will be bias free. However, I think that it is important to at least strive for high quality journalism. This would lead to more professional journalism which would be beneficial for journalists as well as media as a whole.

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