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John Morrissey: "Why the USA is a superpower" RESPONSE

I read with some amusement in the article "Why the USA is a superpower" Alexander Grigoriev's comparison of journalism in the USA compared to journalism in the Russian federation.

The framers of the U.S. constitution got many things right, but not everything. While it is true that the principles of liberty demand a free press, a free press is not a panacea.

If the media are viewed as "watchdog" over government, then the importance of journalism and journalists grows when the government grows. The natural self-interest of a "watchdog" press ultimately is to see government grow, andfreedom diminish. It makes sure government stays within the rules, but implicitly itself seeks more rules and regulations.

Grigoriev laments the frequent difficulty of obtaining information from Russian officials. Be thankful, Russians, that this is so: Your reporters must actually work to obtain information, and your officials have not yet figured out that they can assure their power far better by giving information relatively freely to lazy domesticated reporters.

No, dear Russians, the best watchdogs are your own individual selves. There can be no substitute, if a people are to be free and stay free. Question everything. Remember always that journalists, too, are not simply disinterested "servants of society." That is a press-serving myth that the press wants you to believe. If you keep this in mind, you might be able to avoid some of the mistakes we Americans have made.

John Morrissey

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