In the US Constitution Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press were considered to be two of the most important concepts of a free republic. (we are not a "democracy" we are a "republic", though few in government or the media seem to know this)
Freedom of speech and freedom of the press was intended to safeguard the citizens by helping to insure that lying politicians and others in a position of influence could not use lies to mislead the people. The press has always been considered to be the "gatekeepers" of freedom in America, by virtue of their legally protected ability to expose the wrong doings and lies of those in power.
In nations where there is no freedom of speech, such as China and Russia, people are regularly jailed for trying to expose the lies of their government leaders. When the newspapers, bloggers, television personalities and political operatives in the United States begin to cover up lies to protect leaders, it puts the entire nation in jeopardy.
I believe that this is one of the great threats to American life today - A media complex that is willing to cover up lies for leaders that they support. Regardless of party affiliation, covering up lies to enable lying politicians and bureaucrats to get their way and mislead people will always result in less freedom for all of us. Eventually, if allowed to go on long enough it will allow despotic leaders to take control and manipulate the people for greedy personal gain.
Without a free press that is willing to remain independent and expose the lies of either side, public policy is doomed to be manipulated by the few in power, at the expense of the citizens. In fact, we've already gone so far down this road that government officials frequently change the rules for reporting various types of information, such as employment and inflation data, to cover up the poor job that they are doing. Most of the time, few to no media people even both to question the validity of the data that has been produced.
The press is often made up of younger people who have already been heavily influenced in college towards one set of beliefs or another, regardless of truth. These "journalists" as they are called, often feel it is their duty to protect whichever party seems to be in agreement with what the "journalist" believes or "was taught" is true, Regardless of whether it really is true or not. They are not doing their jobs and they are leaving the entire nation vulnerable to manipulation. This is how many countries go from being "free" to being a totalitarian state where millions of people are then executed because they do not follow the official state version of the "truth".
Did you know that communist China was once a free nation? But in the 1940's after the communists took over, they began a full scale crackdown on the nation, killing more than 30 million chinese citizens in the process of "cleansing" the nation of any opposition. Today the chinese press is tightly controlled by the government. The citizens have few legal rights and are told what to do and how to live. They have an internet, but it is closed to the outside world. The Chinese people can only read and hear what the government allows them to read and hear.
They are also told by an obedient press that things in China are fine and that Chinese people have it better than anyone else in the world. All you have to do to avoid being jailed or killed is to believe what you are told, don't ask any questions, follow the official party line.
The same thing is true of Russia. Before the Bolshevik revolution of 1917 Russia was also a free, Christian nation. All of this changed in just a few years. Once Joseph Stalin took power in the early 1920's he ordered that everyone follow every word he said as if it were absolute truth. If you refused, you were promptly sent to prison or executed. Germany under Adolf Hitler was another example. He also had his media managers who made sure that Hitler always looked good and helped to eliminate any opposition. The result was the holocaust.
Hundreds of millions or even billions of people have been executed over the years by governments who made sure that the media or "the press" were tightly controlled and produced stories that always supported the party line. The press was instrumental in helping these evil rulers lie so as to manipulate and control the people. If the press in America does not work hard to maintain it's objective independence and focus on exposing the lies of it's leaders, regardless of which party they belong to, we could end up losing our freedoms to despotic leaders that will destroy this nation and take away our freedoms. There is no more important job in a free country than to safeguard the real truth so that despotic, lying, deceptive leaders cannot gain power.