The Press

The press--newspapers and magazines printed on paper--represent, along with books, the only form of communications which today are guaranteed the full protection of the First Amendment.

However, the press has its own problems--there are now fewer newspapers than ever in American history, and they are mainly owned by huge conglomerates that also have other interests. For example (and most notoriously) Rupert Murdoch, in addition to owning newspapers, owns TV Guide and the Fox Broadcasting network. Reporters are increasingly frightened of covering stories that will offend affiliated companies or major advertisers. A recent column in the Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting pages called this behavior "the routine somersaults of self-censorship".

The First Amendment only protects against government intervention; it does not guarantee that the press will be independent, fearless or fair.