Wednesday, April 16, 2008

4th place in Student 1st Amendment Essay Contest from Strafford

What Free Media Means to America
By Joshua Scott Holcomb

When you watch the news, do you want to hear someone else’s opinion about what is going on, or do you want to hear what is actually going on? When you listen to the radio, do you want one view on a political issue, or do you want a variety of views? When you read the newspaper, do you want to hear the complaints of the healthy, wealthy, and prosperous, or do you want to know how to help those who are in a minority and actually have real problems? In short, do you believe that our media should be biased to those with power, or do you believe that all Americans have the right to have access to a free media?

The first amendment of our Constitution addresses free media. It says, “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech or of the press.” This right to free media is what the rest of the Bill of Rights hinges upon. If the government had control of our media, the rights of the people could be infringed upon, the cry of our citizens could be suppressed, the objections of our fellow Americans could be covered up – all without the public’s knowledge. A society without a free media is a society without a free people.

But free media has uses other than just giving us some security against the government infringing upon our rights. The way a political candidate is portrayed and spoken about in the media is very instrumental in swaying the public’s opinion. Without a free media, voters would be fed biased opinions and one-sided arguments to influence their vote. Having a free media allows the people to form their own opinions about the candidates and make the decision that they believe is right for our country. This is a free society; this is a government run by the people and for the people.

As you can see, it would be impossible for our free society to function as it does without a free media. Free media means exposure when we are wronged and recognition when we do right. No free media means isolation. Free media means citizens can choose the candidate most in line with their views. No free media means dictation. We are a free society and so Americans have the right to have access to a free media.


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