Benjamin Franklin, founder of The Pennsylvania Gazette (predecessor of the Post), famously championed freedom of speech and an unbiased free press. He held that any man’s point of view, however unpopular, should be worthy of discourse. As he wrote in the May 27, 1731, edition of the Gazette:
“Printers are educated in the belief, that when men differ in opinion, both sides ought equally to have the advantage of being heard by the publick; and that when truth and error have fair play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter.”
Wise words. Over the years, Post editorials have continued to offer perspective on the subject of media bias and freedom of the press. Click on the blue headlines below to read related articles from our archive.
In April of 1934, the Post was concerned about the way President Franklin D. Roosevelt regarded the press’s right to freedom of expression. In the editorial “Free Speech,” the Post cautioned against an expansive, controlling administration and reasserted the prerogative of the press to safeguard the necessity of free speech and checks on government power.
“Today’s Press is ‘Freer’ Than Greeley’s,” written on August 14, 1947, argues that the notion of freedom of the press is not nearly what it seems, and that many media outlets are not as privy to that safeguard as they should be.
On September 24, 1966, the Post ran an editorial titled “Beware of Self-Censorship,” analyzing the press’s role in covering courtroom cases and cautioning the media against inciting a perhaps undeserved trial by the court of public opinion.
On October 29, 1960, Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Harry Ashmore wrote in the editorial, “Has Our Free Press Failed Us?” that we don’t know, and haven’t known for a long time, where journalism ends and entertainment begins.