Thomas Jefferson famously commented that given the choice between a government without newspapers and newspapers without government, he’d prefer the latter. The Founders felt freedom of speech to be so important that was embodied as the first of the Bill of Rights amendments to the Constitution. Ten years later, John Adams, whose love of America was second to none, signed the Sedition Act, which criminalized any public criticism of him or the Congress. Tension between government and a free press has never gone away. What is the role of the media in democratic life today? Is it truly, as Edmund Burke observed the “Fourth Estate,” having almost as much influence as elected officials? Has the consolidation of media into a few mega-corporations been compromised objectivity? Did objectivity ever even exist? Ben Swan, award willing journalist, blogger, new anchor and television host gives his insider views on the controversial role of the media in public life today.