“ I have complete confidence in the response and dedication of our citizens whenever they are fully informed.”
So said President John F. Kennedy in remarks delivered at the American Newspaper Publishers Association gathering in 1961.
JFK went on to recall that Francis Bacon had observed, early in the Seventeenth Century, that the printing press, the compass, and gunpowder were three inventions that had transformed the world.
For Kennedy, centuries later, it was the printing press – as “the recorder of man’s deeds, the keeper of his conscience, the courier of his news” – that the nation looked to for strength and assistance.
The president told the gathered news people that he was confident that with their help, “man will be what he was born to be: free and independent.”
No small challenge for journalism, then, and, perhaps, more so now, many decades later.