Mike Hoyt, executive editor of the Columbia Journalism Review, has an op-ed in the L.A. Times that discusses the power of newspapers and questions how they have used and will use that power.
Honest, responsible investigative journalism is imperative to a healthy democracy, and newspapers often provide the most thorough, most effective reporting that has and can change our lives. See: Watergate.
However, that power is all too often abused. See: Murdoch, Rupert.
While good journalists inform us of misuse and abuse of power, bad ones often practice it. With any luck, the News Corp. scandal will encourage the former and rid us of the latter.
In a strange way, Murdoch has done newspapers — those beleaguered products of the past — a large favor. He has reminded us all of their singular power. Even in their weakened form compared with a few years ago, newspapers are simply better than any other part of our vast and rapidly changing media system at the job of digging and finding things out. [...]
All newspapers have power, if they report in any depth at all. Even small weeklies in small communities can have great power within their communities. They should use it.
But for what? One lesson of the great scandal unfolding in Britain is that newspapers can choose to use their power for bread and circuses, like the News of the World, and to accumulate more and more power. That works, at least until it doesn't. Or they can use their power for public service — to explain, to encourage and shape honest debate, and best of all, to expose the abuse of power of any kind, even of other news outlets. In the end, the public will appreciate that, and perhaps repay the kindness with loyalty.
Please read the whole thing here.
Well then Chris Christie must be the most powerful man in the U.S.
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, May 20 (UPI) -- People with power don't have to respect the basic rules of social behavior the way most other people do, Dutch researchers said.
Study leader Gerben Van Kleef of the University of Amsterdam said the powerful have fewer rules to follow, and live in environments of money, knowledge and support, while people without power live with threats of punishment and firm limits. For many people, acting rudely reveals power.
In the study, test subjects saw two videos showing a man at a sidewalk cafe -- one in which he put his feet on another chair, dropped cigarette ashes and ordered a meal brusquely, and one in which he behaved politely. Those who saw the rude behavior were more likely than those who saw politeness to say he was likely to "get to make decisions" and able to "get people to listen to what he says."
In another study, Van Kleef and colleagues had people come to the university and interact with a rule follower (polite and acted normally) and a rule breaker (arrived late, threw down his bag on a table and put up his feet.) After the interaction, people said the rule breaker had more power and was more likely to "get others to do what he wants."
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