Freedom of the Press...For It or Against?

D.D. HardingCorrespondent IJanuary 18, 2009

We, the writers for the Bleacher Report, have a very dangerous tool in our hands.

At any given moment, we can put pen to paper and change someone's world.

In this wonderful society we live in, we have many Freedoms that are referred to as Basic Freedoms. In truth, they are only basic because we have become so comfortable with them. Introduce these same "Basic" Freedoms in Cuba or China and they won't seem so basic.

We are free to write what we feel and others have the choice of reading it or turning the page. In one stroke of the pen, in one ill-advised moment, in a single peck of the keyboard, we can change someone's history.

How often does a teacher go down accused of inappropriate behavior because a student chose to settle a score? How frequently do we hear of an incident like Kramer, screaming the N-word to a heckler and forever changing his future?

How many times do we listen to apologies of politicians, radio talk show hosts, or athletes, who made one bad choice and forever change their history or the legacy of a teammate, friend, fan or spouse?

As writers, we have the responsibility to be honest and diligent researchers. The Internet is a wonderful tool in that we, as novice writers, have the ability to hone our writing skills. But as rookies, it is unlikely that we have been taught to check sources, double check facts, and in short be responsible for what we write.


An article I read yesterday on from May of 2006, read as follows.

"NHL Captaincies: Blacks, Jews need not apply"

"Jerome Iginla is a lousy captain. What's more, he proves that it's a bad idea to appoint a black player to the captaincy of an NHL team. 

If Iginla were a great captain the Flames would have defeated Tampa Bay in 2004 and we'd know that blacks could be great team captains.  But he didn't, so he must suck and this surely proves that blacks just don't have the leadership skills needed to win big in the NHL.  Right? 

The same can be said of Jeff Halpern, the Jewish captain of the Washington Capitals.  He failed to lead the Caps to the Cup this year, proving that Jewish captains are a bad idea. Right?"

Now the article went on to say that this type of thinking is "of course, ridiculous", but think about it. Most readers only read the headline and the first paragraph or two. This writer took three plus paragraphs to say what he really felt. And now, nearly three years alter, I am driving along the Internet Super Highway and forming an opinion.

In short, we are all Journalistic Virgins...Please remember to be Responsible...Be diligent and be truthful. Checking a story is more than just running spell check or deciding whether to Manually or Auto Paginate.

And remember...The Pen is Indeed Mightier Than the Sword.