From an article by Nancy Gibbs, Time Magazine, February 6, 2017: Jefferson’s Warning to the White House
During the campaign of 1800, a Federalists newspaper article stated that with Jefferson as president: “Murder, robbery, rape, adultery, and incest will be openly taught and practiced, the air will be rent with the cries of the distressed, the soil will be soaked with blood, and the nation black with crimes.”
Still it was Jefferson who argued that given the choice between “a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government,” he wouldn’t hesitate to choose the latter. Two hundred and forty years since the founding of the country, a free press remains democracy’s killer app.
The function of the press is not to tell people what to think; it is to help them decide what to think about. The enemy in any democracy is not dissent, from either within or without. Dissent, in fact, is essential. The enemy is dishonesty, ignorance, indifference, intolerance. The ability to hold journalists accountable has never been greater, and we take legitimate criticism as a challenge to do better. Attempts to suppress, dismiss and control, on the other hand, we understand as exactly what Thomas Jefferson warned against.
Read the full article: Jefferson’s Warning to the White House | Time.com