A recent Opinion Page (May 6, 2020) in this newspaper highlighted Jim Zachary’s thoughts in “DomeLight.” He droned on at great length regarding the need for Gov. Kemp to respond to questions posed by journalists. He went on to stress the need for journalists to “ask the tough questions” and pointed out that, “…our leaders should — must — stand for questions.” He went on to assert that the ”…relationship between the press and government has existed since the founding of our nation and that crucial interplay is essential….” His thoughts inferred that Gov. Kemp’s responses were defensive, less than forthright, and further implied that the press exceeded its rights granted by our Constitution’s Bill of Rights (i.e., Freedom of the Press), which does not inhibit the expression of opinions. Unfortunately, what Mr. Zachary failed to further point out was that the press in today’s world puts their own spin on the responses to questions…responses that are not necessarily factual but instead reveal the prejudices of the press expressed as “fact” versus opinion. His point regarding the essentiality of “tough questions” is absolutely on the mark. On the other hand, the press has the equal responsibility to print the facts and, also, to discriminate between factual data and how they wish to interpret the responses to their “tough questions” Our country has embraced the idea of “freedom of the press” since its inception (consider Thomas Paine’s OpEd’s and Alexander Hamiton’s (et al) Federalist Papers). It appears that in today’s world, the press does not consider that freedom of the press accompanies a responsibility to discriminate between fact and opinion. Freedom isn’t free….
Peter J. Boylan