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Terms in this set (12)

The Role of the Watchdog:
The Constitution's First Amendment states that the government should not interfere with the press, making the media an informally dubbed "fourth branch" of government. The media is not a part of the formal structure of the government, which gives it the freedom and power to be the watchdog--to keep checks and balances between the government and the public. Some may even say it protects the idea and practice of democracy. The role of the watchdog consists of:
interviewing public officials on pressing problems, in order to give the people an answer that would otherwise go un-addressed, and to challenge politicians to use critical thinking
fact-checking such public officials on statements they make to the media, to provide insight to what truths are being withheld or twisted
investigative journalism--a form of journalism that involves extensive research on a single subject over a long period of time, although the press can be criticized for doing so falsely or without proper intent
beat reporting--attending formal meetings that the public might otherwise not attend or may not be invited to attend
influencing the ethics of public life as we know it--media has a huge role on how we interpret people and events, no matter what form of media it may be!

The "Modern Day" Watchdog:
The role of the hero cannot go un-criticized, however. Modern day media's use of investigative journalism and prying at the personal lives of politicians can be criticized as being over-the-top and unnecessary, and that these watchdogs only do so for the ratings. The media twists and works around information to get the best story--exactly what they're trying to stop political officials from doing.
However, without the media as a source of information, the public could be completely uniformed of what is happening in not only Washington, but in their own local neighborhoods.