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The Fourth Estate

A new Gallup poll shows confidence in both newspapers and television news are both below 25%.  I have mixed feelings about this.  It’s a good thing to be skeptical and not put too much faith in any one source for information.  However, I think this is a little scary because of the media’s role as the “fourth estate.”  The typical high school civics lesson teaches us that the government is designed with power divided between different  entities with a system of checks and balances to keep any one of them from getting too much of it.  These institutions are the executive, legislative, judicial branches, and state governments.  The press is supposed to be the outside force keeping watch over all of this.

I have already argued that the relationship between the state and federal governments has been completely destroyed here and here.  Also, I have argued that the judicial branch has been corrupted here and here.  I haven’t touched on congress and that situation is a little more subtle although some like Glenn Beck have been arguing that congress is unwittingly making themselves irrelevant by giving broad powers to appointed bureaucrats and I think this is at least somewhat true.  So if we lose all faith in the press, what’s left?

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