Honest journalism is the cornerstone of democracy


Photos by Wikimedia Commons, Graphic by Joseph Zuloaga '23

Hosts Tucker Carlson and Don Lemon were fired by Fox News and CNN in April.

The Crusader Staff, Editorial Board

Phil Graham, the husband of Katherine Graham–publisher of The Washington Post during the Pentagon Papers and Watergate scandals–once said, “[News is] a first rough draft of history.”

Fast forward to today, when the press is becoming more polarized, with left-and-right wing news channels funneling and crystallizing divisions between factions of Americans that seem to be increasingly entrenched.

When the last week of April commenced, two almost back to back firings by CNN and Fox News to Don Lemon and Tucker Carlson led to a major media shakeup that could be etched in history as Graham described it.

First, Tucker Carlson–host of Tucker Carlson Tonight and Fox News’ highest-rated host–was surprisingly ousted on the morning of April 24. In a brief statement Fox News thanked him for his service “to the network as a host and prior to that as a contributor.” There was no direct reason for the ousting, with the statement adding that his last show was the prior Friday April 21. Rotating hosts will fill the hour of the re-branded Fox News Tonight.

Networks cite Fox News’ massive $787.5 million settlement with Dominion Voting Systems prior to a trial as the probable reason why Carlson was fired due to him being a central figure in the spreading of voter fraud misinformation regarding Dominion voting machines in the 2020 election.

Only a few hours later, CNN announced that they had parted ways with host Don Lemon after 17 years. The CNN This Morning host soon expressed outrage with the network when the news broke, lamenting that no one from CNN management had “the decency” to contact him about the ouster. CNN’s statement in part read, “Don will forever be a part of the CNN family … we wish him well and will be cheering him on in his future endeavors” and rejected Lemon’s accounting of the events.

It’s all a war of words and false inflammatory theatrics between factions that don’t have a clear, stable plan, harming the American people in the crossfire.

Lemon was recently under fire for stating that GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley wasn’t “in her prime” when she announced her 2024 bid for the White House. He has also been accused of misogyny in the workplace against his colleagues. 

These incidents show how broadcast journalism is rapidly changing. Gone are the days of investigative, impactful journalism, the likes of which was portrayed in The Post movie, released over five years ago. The parallels to a press that kept the president in check is gone.

Now, right-wing networks criticize the party in control of the White House for the smallest details without having a plan, whilst the left wing networks fawn over the party in charge and do not hold them accountable. It’s all a war of words and false inflammatory theatrics between factions that don’t have a clear, stable plan, harming the American people in the crossfire.

This is why we need a free press. At the White House Correspondents Dinner, President Biden called the press “the pillar of free society, not the enemy.” He then emphasized, “journalism is not a crime.”

The First Amendment ideal of a free press is also being attacked overseas, with Evan Gershkovich of the Wall Street Journal being arrested in Russia on unfounded suspicions of spying. Biden reiterated his support for Gershkovich, stating his administration was working every day to secure his release.

If journalism is deemed as essential to democracies, then why is it being tarnished at home and abroad?

We The Crusader, as a student newspaper, will always advocate for a free press, for clean, honest, reputable journalism that seeks to inform the public and be an honest, unbiased source of truth amidst all the lies that surround the world today.