The first amendment of the United States constitutions states:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
It underlines the profound and essential importance of free speech for an effective and functional democracy. A functional free press needs a constitutional right to freedom of speech to be able to hold the executive to account. Would have Richard Nixon resigned as POTUS if was not for the investigative journalism of Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward for the Washington Post?
In August 1974 the news business, whether it be print or broadcast was extremely profitable. This is most definitely not the case in 2019. The Washington Post is now owned by the richest man in the world Jeff Bezos, and he bought it to save it going under. All over the globe newspapers are closing and losing circulation while news broadcast companies struggle to make a profit.
There are many reasons for this, but the main reason is that the news industry has struggled with disruptive effects of the internet. End users expect online news content to be free of charge. Ironically news consumption has probably never been greater largely online content. Their content gets used to generate content by Google and Facebook, but they get no revenue from them for it.
Because of the enormous financial restraints, the quality of news journalism has plummeted. With notable exceptions such as the New York Time, Washington Post and The Guardian, expensive investigative journalism is too expensive to support. Online news is dominated by celebrity gossip, trivia and click-bait.
Further more, social media platforms such as Facebook are being exploited by malign agencies to deliver fake news that deliberately corrupts the democratic process as people struggle to identify the truth.