The way the United States system was set up was an attempt by the Founding Fathers to avoid the perceived problems of the English and French political systems of the day. Congress balances the Executive Branch while the Executive Branch balances Congress. The Judiciary is there to ensure that Laws are Constitutional and that the actions of the President are Constitutional. The press – the so-called “Fourth Estate” – reports on, exposes flaws and generally keeps the rest honest.
At least that’s how it’s supposed to work. Avoiding the political commentary on the first three “Estates” (Executive, Congress and Judiciary) it’s clear that the press and media have failed us completely. The linked article begins to explain why but one thing that’s not noted there is that “the press” has changed significantly since the days of the Founding Fathers. Then, there were hundreds of small, independent (and local) newspapers – not a very limited number of very powerful “media corporations”. The White House Press Corps are intimidated and will never call out the press secretary when they are clearly, obviously and provably lying; or where other lies can be easily proven by playing back a tape. But they don’t and they let the people down when they don’t. They know their job requires access to the press room and they too scared to do their job.
But they fail America because of their timidity. With so few media outlets obvious lies do not get exposed by timid “journalists”. We need a return to hundreds of independent voices uncovering lies and doing real journalism.
I hate to say it but it seems the blog-o-sphere is our last chance to save democracy and “keep the bastards honest” to quote Don Chip – a now-dead politician in Australia who led the third party trying to break the duopoly of political power that exists there (and in the US).