As we take time on July 4th to celebrate the liberty we cherish as American, it's important to recognize the critical role a free press plays in surfacing the truth "we the people" need to exercise our civic duty. All politicians promise transparency but the lure of retaining power is more likely to produce fog and spin than clarity and truth. A competent, assertive, and impartial press is as important today as it has been at any point in our history.
To acknowledge the 40th anniversary of Watergate break-in and the critical role that the journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein played, the Ventura County Star invited its journalists to a local theater for a special screening of "All the President's Men." Watching effectively acknowledged the pivotal role journalists play in surfacing the truth and challenged all who attended to recommit to the critical mission professional journalists provide in a free republic.
As a young Republican who actually helped reelect President Nixon, it angered me that such crimes could be committed in the name of a party I supported. No matter what Nixon's other accomplishments, his desire to remain in power resulted in his own demise by breaking trust with the people and Constitution he swore to support and uphold.
Watching the movie, I marveled again at the creativity and dogged determination of Woodward and Bernstein as they followed their story to its fateful conclusion. America is better because of them, but were their efforts driven by courage and professionalism or more by their contempt for a president they didn't support?
For a liberal journalist to work overtime to bring down a Republican president takes no more courage than another Hollywood star endorsing President Obama. It takes courage and character to apply the same journalistic scrutiny to a politician they otherwise support.
Whether it’s patterns in voting, financial support, or political identification, journalists are significantly more liberal than the average American. According to a 2012 Pew Research Center study, the public perception of that bias is increasing with 67 percent of Americans now believing that there is a bias in news coverage. Journalists have every right to hold liberal views, but it makes their job of objective reporting more difficult.