Posted by: jessica | October 24, 2011

Democracy vs. Capitalism

“Freedom of the press is in the Constitution to make self-government possible…in a democratic society journalism is the primary means through which the mass of people may effectively equip themselves to effectively participate.”

The reconciliation between democracy and capitalism seems to be at the root of this week’s readings.  While democracy and capitalism historically seem to be the most effective forms of governance and economy, together it is clear that in time they can slowly erode one another’s effectiveness due to the clash of their driving forces.  Journalism appears to be no exception.

At the root of the problem it seems that the nature of our free-market society is affecting the free flow of democratic ideas.  The structure of the “business of journalism” in our country is built on capitalist principles.  Therefore, the driving force in this business is profit, which erodes the idea of the freedom of the press to equip the democratic nation with the information necessary to make informed decisions.   Decisions of what to report and how to report it are based on making the most profit and not on successfully informing the public.  In addition, the regulation of the Internet is also profit driven and again this structure threatens the ability of the news media to effectively inform the public.

The United States, having adopted some socialist programs, is certainly not a pure model of capitalism however it the standard to which all capitalist economies are modeled.  There are many fundamental problems with our economic and government models but the delivery and content of the news in our country appears to be reaching a critical point because of this clash of ideals between capitalism and democracy.

Should our government put together a governing body that can regulate subsidies for the media outlets in order to protect the freedom of the press?

Will more regulation and more subsidies resolve or at least temper the current journalism crisis?

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