The Washington Post once was a paper that would be trusted to give you the news without commentary. Not so much these days, well to be fair, for quite a while. Commentary is a staple of its reporting, but I wanted to call attention (again) to it’s motto, “Democracy Dies in Darkness.” *Sorry, it’s a little hard to read in the screenshot above.*
The story of how the motto was adopted can be found here, if you can get past the paywall. Many believe the motto was presumably adopted in response to Trump’s assertion that the media was an enemy of the people for their inaccurate and slanted reporting. The story refutes that presumption, though some still question the truth on that too.
To some degree, the motto is correct, though journalism and the media isn’t to only keeper of democracy. No, there are lots of sources from which information can be obtained these days. What there is a lack of, is accurate and fair journalism and media. Therein lies the death of democracy.
Media and journalists who report their bias, their slant, their take on the information “to inform” the public is killing democracy. In essence, the Washington Post is killing democracy in several ways all by itself.
First, there is, of course, the slanted and liberal bias the paper produces every day. This is not a debatable conclusion. It is fact. So let’s not quibble about this detail.
I would posit the next reason the “paper” (I say it that way because it isn’t a newspaper in the true sense any longer) is helping democracy die is that it has chosen to put its online content (or most of it) behind a paywall. I understand a paywall generates revenue, but doesn’t advertising do the same thing? The problem with the paywall is that it makes it so that only those who can afford to pay for a subscription have access the “the news.”
Is that really keeping everyone informed? Is that really making sure there is equal access to information? Is it equitable for all?
Access to information and access to sound, unbiased reporting is important. Hiding behind paywalls and having more journalism that is predominantly commentary, rather than facts (or a liberal spin on the facts), isn’t keeping democracy alive. It is actually killing it too.
Democracy certainly dies in darkness, but the darkness here is slanted journalism and a paywall.