Freedom of the press. The ability of reporters to state the news as it is, not as governments
wish it to be reported. That is the meaning of the First Amendment to
the Constitution. The responsibility of the press, including these reporters
sitting here with me today, to report accurately and without bias is so
important to our national freedom that the founding fathers guaranteed
freedom of the press in the
First Amendment, not the Eighth, the Tenth, or the Nineteenth. That amendment
says, "Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech
or of the press." Free speech and free press are in the same phrase
of the amendment, signifying that one without the other would be meaningless.
Thomas Jefferson wrote, "The only security of all is in a free press.
It is necessary, to keep the waters pure." Adlai Stevenson, Dwight
Eisenhower's presidential opponent, much later added, "The free
press is the mother of all our liberties." Freedom of the press is
just as important in local matters, as in national issues, to inform us
about governmental boondoggles, gaffes, and mismanagement so as to promote
honest and intelligent discussion. A free and responsible press is nothing
without principled reporters who investigate and report the facts without
embellishment or bias.
Think of exceptional examples like Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite.
They had integrity. They were unafraid to report the news as it is, not
as politicians and governments wished it were. Now, think of another reporter
from the same mold. Joe Moore, who retired this week after 43 years of
anchoring TV-7 News. As with “Uncle Walter,” when Joe Moore
said something, you could rely on it. His quality, his honesty, his integrity
exemplify all that is right about freedom of the press. Considering his
insight, knowledge of government, and sense of history in this area, I
hope we will hear much more from Joe Moore.