John F. Kenndy discusses the importance of a vigorous press

February 26, 2012 | By | 2 Replies More

John F. Kenndy discusses the importance of the press in a speech he gave at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City on April 27, 1961:

Without debate, without criticism, no Administration and no country can succeed and no republic can survive. That is why the Athenian lawmaker Solon decreed it a crime for any citizen to shrink from controversy. And that is why our press was protected by the First Amendment– the only business in America specifically protected by the Constitution–not primarily to amuse and entertain, not to emphasize the trivial and the sentimental, not to simply “give the public what it wants”–but to inform, to arouse, to reflect, to state our dangers and our opportunities, to indicate our crises and our choices, to lead, mold, educate and sometimes even anger public opinion.


Category: Journalism, Media

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. Adam Herman says:

    JFK makes a big mistake in there though. “the press” referred to in the 1st amendment is the printing press. The Founders were thinking of Thomas Paine, not the Charleston Mercury. It is an individual right, not a corporate right. Corporations were later extended 1st amendment rights when they were recognized as legal persons.

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