Is the Government’s 4th Branch Dead?

It is widely known that though the Constitution boasts a separation of powers of the three major branches, there is a fourth branch that is somewhat of a supervising force of the other three. The media is commonly known as the “watchdog” of the government, or the fourth branch of government, allowing the people of the nation to keep its checks and balances on it. Though most people take the media as able to fulfill this role still, the question of whether or not the media is really a government “watchdog” anymore is a valid one.

The media today, in 2012, is more widely known to address questions of the paternity of Hollywood celebrities’ babies or see what team Dwight Howard wants to be traded to as he changes his mind daily than to be sure the Washington politicians are really emulating what their voters want them to enact. For centuries, the media was given power, by the Bill of Rights, to have freedom from the government to investigate public figures roles in society. The media as a dying field has to focus less on its integrity now and aim for the green. They must find what will keep food on the table, which typically is not roles that will actually encourage a healthy society. Most media will aim for stories of corruption and crime rather than to show the good of people or do deep investigations that dig up faults in people that the average government investigator would not find out. The days of the investigative journalist are long gone. Going back to the medias role in Washington D.C., the media is more likely to report on a politicians private trips to see a mistress in South America or to show what the President ordered for dinner on a date than to point out inconsistencies in policymaking. The media as it is supposed to be in the Bill of Rights is no more, allowing the government freedom from its longtime “watchdog”, so who knows what the government officials get away with now that they are not under tight surveillance.

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