Whether elected officials like Mayor Richard Thomas or his Illegitimate Deputy Police Commissioner Joseph Spiezio realize it or not our Democracy is dependent on an informed electorate. In many cases, black people are the least informed. One of Black Westchester missions is to make sure voters are well versed in the issues they will be voted on.
In a previous editorial, we explained that The Media is The Fourth Estate, the Fourth Power or is considered the fourth pillar of the state all over the world. People look to us for the answers, it is not our job to give you the answers but to ask the hard questions and present the public with the facts so the public can have informed debates and make informed decisions. It is our job to hold the government’s feet to the fire, to uncover what is being hidden from the public.
The University of San Francisco decribes Media as the “Fourth Estate”
Access to information is essential to the health of democracy for at least two reasons. First, it ensures that citizens make responsible, informed choices rather than acting out of ignorance or misinformation. Second, information serves a “checking function” by ensuring that elected representatives uphold their oaths of office and carry out the wishes of those who elected them.
In the United States, the media is often called the fourth branch of government (or “fourth estate”). That’s because it monitors the political process in order to ensure that political players don’t abuse the democratic process.
Others call the media the fourth branch of government because it plays such an important role in the fortunes of political candidates and issues. This is where the role of the media can become controversial. News reporting is supposed to be objective, but journalists are people, with feelings, opinions and preconceived ideas.
BW stands firm on its Constitutional right to hold elected officials and government appointees accountable.
According t0 Historian John Buescher, Freedom of the Press is…
The 1st Amendment of the Constitution says, “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom … of the press.” The Constitution establishes a government with three branches, but it does not establish a press or a media. What it does do is prohibit the government from trying to control what people say, either in the press (and by extension in other forms of media) or outside the press.
The core principle is that in the U.S., as distinct from many other countries, the media (and the people in general) are not established or granted rights or status at the discretion or pleasure of the government. Rather, the government’s power is entirely derived from the “just consent of the governed.” The point of the 1st Amendment is to make sure that the government does not overreach itself by trying to limit the basic rights of the people, such as their right to speak freely, including their right to criticize the government. The government does not grant that right. It already exists, no matter what the government might say or do.
The 1st Amendment states the consequence of that fact: Congress cannot limit freedom of speech. The Constitution recognizes the press’ freedom as fundamental and prevents the government from infringing on it.
Independent media like Black Westchester Magazine have become more than a mere institution; instead, the independent media acts as a direct participant in the traditional three-branch system of governance.
The Founders attributed this function to the press alone, elevating the institution to a particular position within the democratic process. One of the fundamental responsibilities assigned to the media was a duty to inform citizens about government and public issues; without adequate information, the public would be unable to exercise its sovereign powers.
Further, the First Amendment’s protection for the freedom of the press intended to curtail and restrict the general powers granted to the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial Branches. Given that no branch under the Constitution could infringe upon the rights of the press under the First Amendment, the Founders revealed their desire that the media should possess a critical role in the new American democracy.
What many elected officials and appointees fail to realize that independent media serves a fundamental role in making democracies run efficiently, even though there are frequently clashes. Independent media system thus often “reflects the political philosophy in which it functions, one that cannot be disregarded as a trivial player in the responsibilities in being the checks in balance in the political process in the Black Community.
Many residents have witnessed the outlandish responses of representatives of the Mount Vernon Mayor, Richard Thomas’s Administration when we ask the question, is his Deputy Police Commissioner Illegitimate? Deputy Police Commissioner Spiezio went on a Facebook tirade attacking Black Westchester, in addition to his personal attacks against me in particular but failed to address the issues that my editorial raised.
To this end, Black Westchester has created a page called “Documented Facts on the Question of Illegitimacy of Deputy Police Commissioner Spiezio, a city that’s in Danger!”
Myself, Editor n Chief, AJ Woodson or any writer for Black Westchester will not be bullied by anyone when reporting the news that affects the everyday resident especially those in the Black community.
As a result of Black Westchester’s coverage, there has been an increased public awareness of the actions of elected officials and their decisions and how they affect ordinary citizens. We understand the role that we play in public communication, especially about democratic politics and the political process.
Black Westchester is also proud to stand and make our presence known and are looked at by the community we serve as a watchdog of government abuses. Under a traditional watchdog role, Black Westchester “keeps the government accountable for its actions or inactions and what role their decisions play in the democratic system” by informing the public through this reporting.
Black Westchester will continue to be an advocate for Justice with FACTS and will not be bullied by any elected official or an Illegitimate Deputy Police Commissioner!
Like it or not Deputy Police Commissioner Spiezio and any elected official or leader of the community for that matter, media plays a crucial role in shaping a healthy democracy. It is the backbone of a democracy. Media makes us aware of various social, political and economic activities happening around the world. It is like a mirror, which shows us or strives to show us the bare truth and harsh realities of life.
It is not out job as a media outlet to only write about the good things that happen in the municipalities of Westchester or anywhere else, or promote your personal propaganda and ignore what’s wrong, even if it has been wrong for so long, many think it’s right. Until we are all willing to have the hard conversation and deal with whats wrong, we will never be able to move forward. It’s the mission of Black Westchester Magazine to do our part in this process and to be the fourth estate. So before trying to circumvent the rules or take advantage of the people know we are watching and will shed light on what you do in the dark! You have been warned!
Damon has been a guest commentator on New York radio stations WBLS (107.5 FM), WLIB (1190 am) WRKS (98.7 FM), WBAI (99.5 FM) and Westchester's WVOX (1460 am). Mr. Jones has appeared on local television broadcasts including Westchester News 12 “News Makers” and Public Television “Winbrook Pride. You can now hear Damon every Wednesday at 830 AM on WFAS 1230 AM, Morning with Bob Marone Show
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