Pool, Getty Images
At this year's White House Correspondents' Dinner, not only did President Obama cleverly target his opponent Mitt Romney and entertain his audience with humor, but he also made interesting statements about the role of the press in the United States. The President stated, "...whoever takes the oath of office next January will face some great challenges, but he will also inherit traditions that make us greater than the challenges we face. And one of those traditions is represented here tonight: a free press that isn't afraid to ask questions, to examine and to criticize". After paying his respects to journalists like Anthony Shadid and Marie Colvin, he goes on to say, "[Journalists] help protect our freedom, our democracy, and our way of life".
Although I feel that to some extent, in comparison to other countries' press, the US does have a system that allows people to challenge the government freely, I thought his latter statement was a little bold. I do not always feel that journalism is accountable to the people. When journalism is objective, is it really portraying the truth behind what is going on in our country? Objectivity, at times, may erase the greater meaning behind why crimes occur or our economy is failing us. For example, in the Trayvon Martin case various facts were given, but many times major news media fail to critically report that these incidents occur because of the racial tensions and stereotypes society has towards the African American community. Crucial analysis like this could really contribute to a discussion on the reasons why certain communities are targeted as criminals.
However, I feel that with the rise of technology and new media "citizen journalists" and "bloggers" have been the more critical lens of the press and media. People who once did not have the space to voice their views on issues are now the ones challenging news itself. They perhaps are the bridge to the gap between facts and social reality. Even though these group of news reporters are not as highly regarded, they are beginning to attain an important place in news reporting. The President even ended the night by sharing his appreciation for bloggers.
Find full Speech here: President Barack Obama at the 2012 White House Correspondents' Dinner