Newspapers, Role in Politics

Thomas Jefferson inexorably linked newspapers and politics when he wrote in the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self evident. That all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness—That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of governed.

What Jefferson had in mind was, to use a current cliché, informed consent. The public must be informed because they were to decide. That meant we had to have freedom of the press, because otherwise the public never could be fully informed. The First Amendment therefore was based on the need to have information about politics and government. ...

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