“Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” -Thomas Jefferson
Today, we are completely engulfed in information; anything from the atomic mass of carbon to the current location of Lady Gaga can be found at the click of a button or the tap of a finger. Within the last decade we have created a device and system that essentially allows us to “hold” the Library of Congress in the palm of our hand, yet, not so long ago, people used newspapers in much the same way we use our phones today. They depended upon the printing presses in their respective towns to provide them with the latest news headlines, opinions, and ideas. In order to ensure these papers could speak the truth without being concerned about their safety, our founding fathers worked long and hard to protect our freedom of speech, press, religion, petition, and assembly. Authors could write whatever they pleased (except slander) and publishers did not have to worry about the government throwing them into jail for disagreeing with a vote on foreign policy. Thomas Jefferson, one of our founding fathers, believed that newspapers were such an integral part of society that he said, “were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” Newspapers are a symbol of free thought and expression and Jefferson is afraid that without them the government can and will filter/control the knowledge of its citizens to the extremes. North Korea is a prime real life example of a government doing just that and there are numerous more books describing dystopian societies that lack these same basic freedoms. Social media and the internet are simply our modern version of a newspaper. It has essentially become a globalized and instantaneous newspaper that anyone can access and a world stage for them to share their thoughts as they please.