The role of the media is to hold the powerful accountable because sometimes the powerful lie to the people. The point is to give a voice to the voiceless and to inform voters so they elect people who will serve their best interests. Though trust in the media is shaky, independent journalism is growing.
In 2016, Director Fred Peabody and White Pine Pictures released the documentary “All Governments Lie: Truth, Deception and the Spirit of IF Stone.”
Who Was I.F. Stone?
I.F. Stone was an independent investigative journalist and crusader for free speech. He published a newsletter called “I.F. Stone’s Weekly.” It exposed lies told by the government. It was regarded as some of the best journalistic work of the 20th Century.
Watch the movie trailer here:
To read about some of the government’s lies check out the Lies section on the documentary’s website.
The Fourth Estate
The Merriam-Webster dictionary explains the fourth estate this way:
It might be news to you that the term fourth estate has been around for centuries. In Europe, going back to medieval times, the people who participated in the political life of a country were generally divided into three classes or estates. In England they were the three groups with representation in Parliament, namely, the nobility, the clergy, and the common people. Some other group, like the mob or the public press, that had an unofficial but often great influence on public affairs, was called the fourth estate. In the 19th century, fourth estate came to refer exclusively to the press, and now it’s applied to all branches of the news media.
“The Agenda with Steve Paikin” hosted a discussion about “All Governments Lie” featuring some of America’s most influential independent journalists. This episode focuses on the failure of the fourth estate.
You can watch and listen to Amy Goodman’s show on democracynow.org. Here she is accepting the I.F. Stone Lifetime Achievement Award:
Here are some interesting articles about independent journalism: