Does the press represent the public?

Does the press represent the public?
This is a question posed by Jay Rosen in a wonderful post on his blog, Press Think, yesterday. It’s worthwhile reading and has generated considerable discussion in the form of comments. In a nutshell, Rosen believes the Bush administration has developed a policy regarding the press that is both new and deserving of attention.

…Bush and his advisors have their own press think, which they are trying out as policy. Reporters do not represent the interests of a broader public. They aren’t a pipeline to the people, because people see through the game of Gotcha. The press has forfeited, if it ever had, its quasi-official role in the checks and balances of government. Here the Bush Thesis is bold. It says: there is no such role.
I think there’s also an assumption that exists in the newsrooms of today that didn’t exist when I first got into the biz (pre-Watergate). The default position of contemporary reporters is that the elected don’t represent the public (either), that they’re all selfish crooks that can’t be trusted, and that it is an awardable public service to prove it. This places the press at enmity with the elected before a thought is gathered or a word spoken. It’s one-upsmanship gone to seed, and the public IS tired of it.

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