In a perfect world, the people with the most power and influence make decisions that are transparent, and they have the best intentions to serve the masses.
They share everything. They have nothing to hide.
Well, this is not a perfect world, and those with the most power and influence are not always making decisions in the best interest of anyone except themselves.
Enter the watchdog, a function of the media that is as old as newspapers.
In this country, the people give government its power through elections, and it is the watchdog that must keep an eye on it to make sure the public is served.
Because the function of the watchdog is so important, the Constitution protects media in the First Amendment.
The watchdog watches government agencies to protect the people from abuse of power.
Reporters are not scared to ask the tough questions because they understand the pen is truly mightier than the sword. The watchdog must report the answers.
The public has looked to the newspaper for the what, why, where, when and how since Publick Occurrences, Both Foreign and Domestick was published in 1690.
It was the press that helped sow the seeds of revolution in this country and led to the war for independence from the British.
Nellie Bly of the New York World checked herself into a mental institution in 1887 to reveal the horrific treatment of mental patients and changed conditions forever.
The Washington Post investigated a burglary in the Watergate in 1972 that led to the resignation of a president.
Today, the watchdog function also is a part of radio, television, Internet and social media.
When government, corporations and institutions purposely keep issues gray, it is important to see the facts in black and white.