Even though I wish so many could be held accountable it seems quite implausible. It seems difficult to implicate the unjust when the ideas they uphold are actually law and they hold positions of authority. The other issue is blowing innocent peoples cover. Innocent people who have found ways to get around the system. The combination of government and media seems to be the mix of oil and water that never mixes but shakes up the world as we know it. The kind of mix we really need to think about. The exposure of ideals and laws, media and mediated stories and the ethical argument versus legality and the illegal. The media threatens to be over run by fake news but the other issue is accountability.
The media in its ethical form seeks accountability but in practice can be void of accountability in how a piece of news can either threaten people through exposure or whether the law or other groups can find the news against national interests or create a situation where the law can step in. Even though Obama was a proponent of the free press his administration was draconian in its application to the leaking of sensitive documents and other material. Is the free press too liable? Really though do state secrets truly show viable news that opens accountability for those in power? The accountability in these cases was turned around onto the sources themselves leading to prosecution. It is hard to paint Assange as a hero especially when people feel threatened by the unearthing of state secrets and the problems that can arise from these leaks but it is even harder still to accept the unaccountable free press and the issues that can arise through exposure whether great or small of the treadmill of stories that we deal with day to day.
The truth is, a lot can go wrong in proper ethical reporting when in effect the issues raised, if sensitive to the government expose what could be simply human endeavour and resilience in a world with questionable laws based on inhumane policies. I am sure you can catch my drift here because reporting even from the free press is full of problems especially when you consider government policy and law. But the difference is the free press is unaccountable even though they can in effect blow peoples cover. Lets say someone is dumpster diving as an example the press does a story as a kind of feel good article (don’t laugh this is based on a real article from a few years back about university students dumpster diving) the only issue is that it can blow peoples cover if it is something that authorities feel is worth pursuing.
Even though this is a bad example it gets the point across of how unaccountable the media are in reporting and so forth. There are many potential problems with more serious issues if covered by the press and it exposes people to the authorities even if they are anonymous because it is essentially the ideas and ideals which are illegal. The idea of accountability itself is hardly possible when the law itself is the problem. The free press in some ways has simply become a tool of state power in that it can monitor and address issues as a focal point rather than as a tool to uphold ethical values and address problems that have been engrained in the very laws we hope will protect us.
Just to clarify I don’t personally feel that the free press is to blame or that the alternative of fake news or even the exposure of state secrets is an answer either but when stories are run peoples lives can be changed forever. Wages for pages is maybe the underlying principle but their are quite a few people looking for a story but you have to think is it a story we really need to see in the press. Some things are probably best left unsaid. Though only if the people need to stay hidden for good reason. The media is both a blessing and a curse. This holds true for those that have become persecuted by policies and laws set in motion by successive governments.